By Ayobami Adedinni
The Minister for State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu has challenged the oil producing companies to face the reality needs and expectations from them, saying “the reality is that today, if you cannot produce cheap cost oil, if you cannot diversify the processing of your oil; if you cannot look to internalising and externalising investment in the sector; if you cannot capture the requisite technological skills that are essential to help you operate efficiently, you are lost before you start.”
Speaking at the Inaugural Nigerian Institute Petroleum Summit PS, an African Petroleum Technology and business conference with the theme: “Leading Africa’s Response to Global Oil and Gas Challenges”, he declared that the challenge for oil companies have changed as they now have got to provide the resources to power this country; jobs for our people; and the operational environment that is transparent enough for others to take Nigeria serious.
“Oil has got to provide the technical and advanced skills sets that are esential for us to export people out in to other African countries, and to become investoprs in other African countries. Something the banking sector has tried to do successfuly over the last six to seven years,” he said.
“I ask everybody to look at the challenges that we face. Africa is probably the continent with the least supply of power. And until power is available, this country, this continent cannot move. Nigeria, obviously, with its 180 million people and growing at a very rapid rate, is critically in need of power. That power won’t come unless gas projects are incentivised and happen, and happen rapidly.
“What is stopping us from that? Africa is the only continent that we still imports most of our petroleum products from abroad. Whereas we have refineries, we have the crude oil. Just a non-starter. What is stopping us from that. Africa is still the only continent where there are question marks in terms of whatever activities in the oil sector, whether we are doing the very best that we can. What is stopping us from improving.
According to him, “Africa is the still the only area with vast amount of resources, where the owners of these resources, all over the nation and all over African countries, continue to cry for neglect and abandonment.
“There are so manh challenges, and sometimes you ask yourself, what is holding Africa back? What is it about Africa that prevents it from taking the bold step that is essential for it to move and actually win the liberation that is essential to make it a continent of envy.
He said, “Let me give you the silver lining, which is that most developed countries have reached the peak of their development. Africa today, with its bushes and wildlifes and resources, remains the continent yet untapped, abunbdant potentials, potential possibilities unlimited. If we do the right things at the right time, with the right energy, with the right opportunities, African would begin to move.”
He said the conference will potentially bring economic benefits, generate employments and expand business in Nigeria and Africa.
He stated that part of the objectives were to deepen the concept enrich the content, provide leadership from Africa and organize on the scale that will make it one of the important annual oil and gas event.
He said, “This summit platform affords Nigeria opportunity to showcase it national commitment , policy and effort of government in the entrepreneur sector , especially the new oil and gas exploration frontiers and market, new mergers to sanitize the sectors the expansion of investment opportunities to boost investors’ confidence, technological advancement, Nigeria content development, the institutionalization of reforms in the country oil and gas sectors and legalization of Nigeria as a leading oil producer in Africa.
“I therefore expect that discussions on finding solution to this critical challenges will dominate key segment of the section and generate discoveries to private sectors in the downstream sectors and program for the rehabilitation of existing refinery so as to enhance capacity to supply locally refined product in Nigeria and west Africa, this is a very key component of the national petroleum industry road map of the 2017-2018 Economic recovery growth plan (ERGP).”
In his keynote address, Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo, Secretary General Organization of petroleum exporting countries (OPEC), said Nigeria is consistently regarded as one of the respected members of OPEC particularly in the realm of consensus building.
According to him, “OPEC has embarked on one of the most innovative enterprises ever known in the history of oil – the declaration of cooperation. This innovation was a response to an unprecedented market turbulence which had a devastating effect not only in the industry but in the economies of OPEC member countries.
“Price cycles are not new in the history of oil, OPEC has identified since the early 1970s, however, this price cycle should be considered unique for several reasons: it is the most overwhelmingly supply-driven of all the cycles we have seen in this exercise. Secondly, the magnitude of the price drop is the highest, thirdly, the recent oil price drop has been considerably sharper with the decline in prices for other commodities which is in sharp contrast to the oil price collapse of 1985/1986 when all commodity prices declined in a similarly steep manner.
“This downturn has equally negative ramifications for consumer countries especially for the OECD, the multiplier effect of this cycle were reflected in the deflation/inflation experience of these countries. Some of them are still battling.
“Thankfully, a breakthrough came in the form of the declaration of cooperation. This was the culmination of an extensive consultation undertaken throughout 2016 with the aim of gaining consensus about the strategic urgency of bringing this market back to balance in a collective manner.
“If one word was to be used to describe the impact of the declaration, it would be ‘transformative’, a new player has emerged on the global oil scene, the OPEC and non-OPEC strategic partnership.
“Many didn’t think it would get off the ground, however, we have registered conformity in 2017 of 107 per cent across all the participating countries and I would like to use this platform to also announce our January figures of 133 per cent that would be released in a couple of hours in the OPEC secretariat.”
Dr. Maikanti Baru, Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in his goodwill message called for closer collaboration among African nations, not only in oil and gas but across all sectors to leapfrog the economies in the continent.
Dr. Baru challenged the participants to come up with practicable solutions to effectively develop Africa’s hydrocarbon resources, saying that discussions and interests alike would stir up strategies and actionable items that would crystalize into a veritable roadmap for the energy future of the African continent.