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Experts call for total deregulation of petrol prices over rising crude oil prices

By Thompson ABISOLA

Some oil and gas experts have called for full deregulation of price of petroleum products in view of  the rising prices of crude oil at the international market.

In separate interview in Lagos on Thursday, the experts said that total deregulation  would libralise the sector and enable them to sell at deregulated prices.

the Chairman, Integrated Oil and Gas Ltd., Mr Emmanuel Iheanacho, said that full deregulation would curb the huge amount the government spent on subsidy which could be invested to develop other sectors.

Iheanacho urged government to embrace deregulation to allow marketers import petrol and sell at competitive prices.

“No marketer can buy petrol at N174 per litre at the international market and sell at government approved price of N145 without paying the differentials at the downstream sector.

“If deregulated, it would create free market and allow government to concentrate in developing other sectors like education, agriculture and ICT,’’ he said.

the Chairman of Western Zone of Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN),Alhaji Debo Ahmed,  said full deregulation would also curb incessant pipeline vandalism.

Ahmed said that if the downstream was fully deregulated, no marketers would allow products to be stolen by vandals.

The marketer said a deregulated petroleum sector would be driven by prices that would be determined by forces of demand and supply.

a former Executive Secretary, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), Mr Obafemi Olawore, lso said full deregulation of the downstream sector remained the best option for economic growth.

Olawore said only deregulation would encourage the establishment of private refineries in the country.

“We have to be ready to accept the reality of total deregulation of the downstream sector. I am sure most of the people truly understand the concept of deregulation.

“If we embark on deregulation today, petrol prices will be different across the states; the price may be significantly high at the early stages, but it will reduce gradually as we move on,’’ he said.

It would be recalled that in April, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr, Ibe Kachikwu, said that the Federal Government’s annual expenditure on fuel subsidy had risen to over N1.4 trillion.

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