India has replaced the United States of America as the largest importer of Nigeria’s crude with China and Malaysia following closely.
The US, which had traditionally taken the bulk of Nigeria’s crude, has in recent months drastically reduced its demand, which now stands at about 250,000 barrels per day.
India, however, now purchases some 30 per cent of Nigeria’s daily crude production which currently hovers around 2.5 million barrels.
Speaking in Moscow, Russia, at the ongoing 21st World Petroleum Congress, Coordinator, Corporate Planning and Strategy of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr Tim Okon, told newsmen that the Asian countries had since replaced the US.
Dr Okon, who also doubles as the Director of Transformation of the NNPC, explained that Nigeria would not ignore any market in its quest to remain competitive in the global oil and gas industry.
“Asia is important and in that respect, we have regards for all markets; the important thing is to make sure that you are selling the products that you have and you do not ignore any market.”
He added that Nigeria was participating in the congress to access global business opportunities in the petroleum industry, especially in the gas sub-sector to enable it to position itself as a major competitor in the hydrocarbon market.
He said as a natural resource-rich country, Nigeria was working hard to do a better job in developing such resources and translating them into the wider economy.
While stressing that the country did not have preference markets for its products, he, however, admitted that the Petroleum Industry Bill currently before the National Assembly needed to be passed into law to enable the country to maximise its potential in the oil and gas industry.
“I cannot talk about future incentives if the principal law that would give birth to it has not been passed, but I want to say that the general intention is that Nigeria must compete in the market place and our fiscal systems are designed to be competitive that would lead to good outcomes for the country,” observed Dr Okon.