Chief Sylva Calls on Oil and Gas Industry Leaders to Embrace the Culture of Collaboration

Nigeria International Petroleum Summit (NIPS)
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By Ndubuisi Micheal Obineme

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, has called on the leaders in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry to embrace the culture of collaboration.

Sylva said this in his welcome address at the opening ceremony of the just concluded 2021 Nigeria International Petroleum Summit (NIPS), which held in Abuja, with the theme, “From Crisis to Opportunity: New approaches to the future of hydrocarbons.”

The Minister who expressed joy that the 2021 NIPS came on the eve of the award of a new marginal field licence, said that the new marginal fields will help the country to achieve its target of four million barrels per day crude oil production, and increase its reserves to 40 billion barrels.

“I am personally delighted this is because getting this new set of marginal fields off the ground is definitely a stepping towards achieving the country’s aspiration meeting the target of four million barrels per day crude oil production and 40 billion barrels of proven reserves. I have no doubt that the country is now on the right path to achieve that aim,” he said.

He said that with the issuance of licences to about 80 indigenous exploration and production companies, there is no better time to embrace collaboration than now, adding that the unprecedented crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has made collaboration key to achieve success, especially for the new marginal fields.

The Minister, however, acknowledged that increased competition and low level of trusts put a stumbling block to collaboration, but noted that there is no better way to deal with the increased risks and global market instability the industry is facing at this time than through collaboration.

He said, “I know that collaboration has been a buzzword in the oil and gas industry for years but the industry has equally paid lip service to it. With the new set of marginal field licenses on the scene, there is no better time to shift the mindset but now. I say this because, at this time of unprecedented crisis occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, there is no better strategy to achieve success for these new marginal fields especially for the cluster of contagious fields.

“I understand that increased competition, low levels of trusts are all barriers to collaboration but at the same time, there is no better way to deal with the increased risks and global market instability we face at this time. The industry needs to overcome the strategy of working in silos and embrace collaboration and knowledge sharing.”

According to the Minister, “We need to fully entrench that culture of collaboration by working together, sharing knowledge and expertise, pooling talent and resources amongst teams, industry peers and MDAs at all levels. That is a sure way the industry can decrease waste, improve efficiency and lower its breakeven costs for the industry’s survival and chart its eventual return to sustainable profitability.”

The oil and gas industry has been facing increasing oil price volatility and increased pressure for cost reduction. He said that Nigeria’s oil and gas industry needs to reinvent itself so that it can fully utilize the dividends to set the country on the path to industrialization and prosperity.

According to him, Nigeria has been playing prominent roles to ensure the stability of the oil market, saying “In this regard, it is worth noting that Nigeria would be celebrating 50 years of membership of OPEC in July this year, having joined the organisation in 1971.
These five decades of relationship with the OPEC has been beneficial to the country as well as to all stakeholders in the oil industry and it is a thing of pride that Nigeria has been able to contribute its quota to the sustenance and survival of the oil industry.”

Sylva further stated that when the NIPS was conceived in 2016 by President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, the objective was to be the pre-eminent oil and gas industry event by Nigeria for Africa and the global oil and gas industry, adding that with three editions down the line and now the fourth one, NIPS has attained its objective.

On energy transition, he argued that though he believes in experts projections that energy transition without fossil fuels will make the world a better place, it is not going to happen overnight, as he is yet to see disruptive technology that has flexibility, affordability and applicability to replace oil and gas immediately.

He said, “Hydrocarbons are provided to the majority of the world energy for centuries and that fact is why it is not going to change all of a sudden. I am yet to see that disruptive technology that has great flexibility, affordability and applicability to replace oil and gas immediately. However, Nigeria is on track in moving its economy to cleaner energy resources in the area of renewables. Gas currently serving as the niche to achieving that.”

He thanked Buhari for his leadership, steadfastness and unalloyed support towards ensuring that the country’s oil and gas industry is on sound footing. He also appreciated the Brevity Anderson Consortium, the event organisers, for their professionalism, diligence and mark excellence in putting together the event.

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