The Federal Government on Thursday pledged to support the Nigerian Oil and Gas industry in its quest to square up against daunting global industry challenges and compete for relevance in the international energy space.
Speaking at the 2014 Oloibiri Lecture Series and Energy Forum organized by the Nigerian Council of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, the Vice President, Arch. Mohammed Namadi Sambo said that with the changing global demand and supply balance, the industry must begin to expand and grow processing capacity for local utilization as well as export of finished products.
The Vice President who was represented by the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Engr. Andrew Yakubu noted that the Government is ready to support the industry to join the shale gas revolution in the next decade.
“I have no doubt that we have the required capacity and competence to tackle these challenges. Government has been and is ready and willing to support your effort in this direction. There is no doubt that oil and gas have played a big role in the economic development and transformation of our country over the last half century,’’ he said.
Arch. Sambo stated that oil and gas has enabled the building of infrastructure as well as aided in the development of other sectors of the economy and national life.
“We must therefore continue to maintain focus in doing the right things to transform the industry as to meet the new challenges of the next century,’’ he said.
Fielding questions from members of the audience in the course of his presentation, Engr. Yakubu lamented the spate of negative criticism and public misconceptions of the operations of the NNPC. He noted that such comments were not only unfair to the Corporation but come as a morale dampener to the thousands of staff in the NNPC who toil day and night to ensure that the country reaps bountifully from proceeds of its hydrocarbon resources.
In her presentation, Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke represented by Engr. Abiye Membere, Group Executive Director, Exploration and Production of the NNPC, acknowledged the growing level of indigenous participation in mainstream exploration and production of the oil and gas business in the country.
The Minister stated that from a little over one percent some few years back Nigerian companies now account for 10 percent of total daily crude production of 2.3 million barrels with a projected rise to 30 percent by the year 2020.
Also responding to questions on the purported stringent fiscal regime in the Petroleum Industry Bill currently before the National Assembly for legislative action, Engr. Membere cautioned the International Oil Companies against undue criticism of the bill and called on them to come forward with their numbers for proper debate .
“In 1993 under the existing Production Sharing Contracts, Royalty was zero. The question now is, do the IOCs still want royalty to remain zero in 2014? We cannot as a nation have zero royalty in the eight most prolific oil and gas assets,’’ Engr. Membere argued.