By Gift Samuel, The Sight News
Abuja-As stakeholders in the oil and gas industry from around the world converged in Abuja for the inaugural Nigerian International Petroleum Summit, President Muhammadu Buhari has announced that Nigeria is open to private sector investment in the downstream sector.
This is as he challenged stakeholders on finding solutions for the rehabilitation of existing refinery so as to enhance capacity to supply locally refined product in Nigeria and West Africa.
President Buhari who was represented by the Secretary General of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, said that the summit is designed to be Africa’s largest and most important platform and linkage to the world where technological breakthroughs will be unveiled.
According to him, “This summit will afford Nigeria a unique opportunity to showcase to the international community policy direction and effort of government in the petroleum sector especially the new oil and gas exploration and markets, new measures to sanitize the sector, the expansion of investment opportunities to boost investors’ confidence, technological advancement, Nigerian content development, the institutionalization of reforms in the country’s oil and gas industry and the galvanization of Nigeria’s position as the leading oil producer in the continent of Africa.
“This is a very key component of the national petroleum industry roadmap and the 2017 to 2020 Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
“We will continue to strive to achieve our target of 7% GDP growth rate within the next three years and be rest assured previous efforts will be sustained. Our effort in stakeholder engagement and stabilizing the Niger Delta will continue to receive due attention to ensure a sustainable level of production” he noted.
In his remark, the Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu stated that his target is that over the next 10 years, Nigeria would become self-sufficent in its own power provision, adding that over the same period, Nigeria would gravitate from crude oil, as it were, to very refined, clean provision of fossils.
“My target is that over that same period, investment in the sector, in the sense that Nigerian companies, Nigerian entities and Nigerian shareholders, would begin to move from the minuscle 10 per cent today, to between between 40 and 50 per cent of local investments. There are major plans, everywhere you look, there are opportunities in the oil sector.
“We have addressed refineries, for the first time, we are creating a model where target investments are going into the dilapidated refineries. Some of those would be announced over the next one month. We are still targeting to be able to get these refineries up and running from about 14 per cent utilisation capacity today, to about 90 to 95 per cent over the next 18 to 20 months. If we do that, hopefully, we would begin to move drastically to self sufficiency in the production of refined petroleum products” he said.
He further asked the participants to look at the challenges that are being faced, adding that 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 rapidly” Kachikwu stated.
In his keynote address, Secretary General Organization of petroleum exporting countries (OPEC),Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo said that Nigeria is consistently regarded as one of the respected members of OPEC particularly in the realm of consensus building.
He said “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” he added.
On his part, the Group Managing Director, Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Dr. Maikanti Baru expressed joy that after six (6) decades of Petroleum exploration and exploitation in Nigeria, such an event which he said is long overdue, is finally holding.
He noted that it is high time African countries collaborate and trade amongst each other not only in terms of oil and gas but in other key sectors and tasked the participants on networking to better the industry and their respective economies.
NIPS is designed after the OTC in Houston and part of the objective is to deepen, enrich and provide leadership for Africa and make it one of the most important annual oil and gas events globally.