The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, restated the move at the Rainoil 20th Anniversary Lecture organised on Wednesday in Lagos.
The theme of the anniversary was: “The Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry:Opportunities, Challenges and Prospects of the Downstream Sector.”
Currently, the NNPC imports over 95 per cent of petroleum products because of the challenges faced by marketers in accessing Foreign Exchange.
The minister said the proposed construction of modular refineries in the Niger Delta and more investments in the sector, would help reduce importation.
He noted that the importation of refined products would be reduced to 60 per cent by 2018.
According to him, the country will start exporting refined products with the commencement of Dangote Refinery in 2019.
He noted that the nation is at the turning point where the downstream industry is more critical than ever and will drive the economy.
“Currently, the NNPC imports over 95 per cent of petroleum products because of the challenges faced by marketers in accessing Foreign Exchange,” he said.
“After 20 years in this industry, I have seen the industry go through challenges but regardless of all that, we are optimistic that there are a lot of opportunities in the sector.” he added.
Kachikwu said the country’s refining capacity for the first quarter of this year presently peaked at 10 million barrels of crude oil.
He reiterated that this was against eight million and 24 million barrels recorded for the entire years of 2015 and 2016 respectively.