President Muhammadu Buhari recently inaugurated the Nigeria International Petroleum Summit, NIPS, in Abuja as a fundamental oil and gas industry platform aimed at linking the country to the world of engineering and technological advancement.
Also, the platform is considered to be Nigeria’s contribution to the quest for a sustainable platform for global industry players to come to Africa in the interest of the oil industry.
Nigeria held the maiden edition of NIPS between Feb. 19, 2018 and Feb. 23, 2018, where stakeholders agreed that the platform would bring future investments to sectors like tourism, aviation, food and agriculture, arts and craft and oil and gas, if sustained.
Stakeholders also observe that NIPS is fashioned after the annual Offshore Technology Conference, OTC, in Houston to showcase technological breakthrough in the oil and gas sector.
No fewer than 1,000 delegates from 32 countries attended the summit with more than 92 exhibition stands.
Mr Buhari said Nigeria would be open to investments and ready to provide leadership for Africa in oil and gas.
He also noted that NIPS remained a key component of the national petroleum industry roadmap and the 2017 to 2020 Economic Recovery and Growth Plan of the present administration.
“NIPS is also designed after the OTC in Houston to deepen, enrich and provide leadership for Africa and make it one of the most important annual oil and gas events globally.
“It is aimed at engendering potentially-economic benefits, generate employment and expand businesses in Nigeria and Africa.
“This summit will afford Nigeria a unique opportunity to showcase to the international community policy direction and efforts of government in the petroleum sector.
“This is especially in the new oil and gas exploration and markets, new measures to sanitise the sector, the expansion of investment opportunities to boost investors’ confidence, technological advancement and Nigeria’s content development.
“Nigeria is open to private investment in the downstream sector and pursuing vigorously a programme for the rehabilitation of existing refineries so as to enhance capacity to supply locally-refined petroleum products in Nigeria and West Africa,’’ he said.
According to him, the present administration will do more than just talk but will act on resolutions from the summit.
He said that corruption must not be allowed in any form in the industry, laying emphasis on cleaner oil and gas investment in alignment with the Paris climate change agreement.
Speaking during the summit, Mohammed Barkindo, the Secretary-General of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, said that the organisation’s decision to cooperate with non-members in cutting crude production costs was 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.
“I would like to use this platform to also announce our January 2018 figures of 133 per cent that would be released in a couple of hours in the OPEC secretariat,’’ Mr Barkindo said.
Also, Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu said that more than 100 billion-dollar investments would transform the sector.
He said that huge investments such as the Egina — 40 billion dollars, Zabazaba –15 billion dollars and potential Bonga –10 billion dollars — were part of promising oil and gas investments.
He said that the ministry had been able to find a way of engaging the Niger Delta militants that would value the communities, study their needs and address their challenges seriously.
He said that issues of refineries had been addressed by the ministry for the first time; creating a model where target investments would go into the dilapidated refineries.
The minister said that part of the target was to be able to get refineries up and running from about 14 per cent utilisation capacity to more than 90 per cent in the next 18 months to 20 months.
He said that policy frameworks such as the gas policy, the petroleum policy and fiscal policies were regulations that were being worked on to encourage more investors.
He expressed the hope that after the initial hurdle and challenges, the NIPS would, over time, become the destination in Africa in terms of tourism, observing that multinational oil firms would soon stop shipping out the crude oil they produce in Nigeria for refining.
According to him, the government is planning to put frameworks in place for the multinational oil and gas firms to build refineries in Nigeria thereby processing a substantial amount of crude that is produced from its oil fields.
He said Nigeria had to get to a point where it would be a major supplier of refined petroleum products with integrated refining and integrated processing to create more jobs and investments.
Mr Kachikwu, nonetheless, said that the country ought to address its flare policy, development of liquefied petroleum gases and begin to convert its petrol consumption cars to gas and electricity driven cars.
“We need to look at our processes; we need to look at our contractual terms, we need to review our patronage culture; we need to diversify the opportunities.
“When we are transparent, investors get a lot confidence and are able to come in droves,” the minister said.
Other issues he listed that needed to be addressed urgently included security, cost of producing a barrel of crude and full deregulation.
“The federation is worried about the fact that while countries such Saudi Arabia are targeting cost per barrel below 10 dollars, we are still oscillating in the mid 20s.
“I am happy that one or two international oil companies have been able to achieve production cost of about 15 dollars, we still need to get everybody else to take that model.
“One of the things that we are going to be seeing is how to incentivise those who have the least cost production and not to penalise but quite frankly pull the ears of those who want to continue to run a high cost profile.
“The future is promising, lots of opportunities and lots of energies will be getting off the ground.
“There is going to be challenges, fiscal issues that need to be addressed to empower everybody to invest; the oil sector provides a catalyst to diversify this economy,’’ Mr Kachikwu said.
The Federal Government also assured investors seeking to build modular refineries in the Niger Delta region of tax waivers and contributory finance.
Rabiu Suleiman, the Senior Technical Adviser to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, said the Federal Government had in November 2017, disclosed that it was considering granting 13 operational licenses for modular refineries in the Niger Delta region.
At the closing ceremony, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo assured the stakeholders that legislations that would create enabling environment to make oil and gas sector vibrant would be quickly assented to.
Mr Osinbajo said it was necessary for African countries to join the league of oil and gas producing states, with Nigeria in the lead, and for African states, both old and new to oil and gas, to cooperate.