By Edith Ike-Eboh
President Muhammadu Buhari has urged participants at the fourth Nigeria international Petroleum summit (NIPS) to focus on strategies to further harness the vast hydrocarbon deposit in the country.
The president gave this charge while declaring open the conference in Abuja on Monday with the theme: “From Crises to Opportunities”.
Represented by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, Buhari said while the world was focusing on energy transition, there was need for the country to harness its potential and join the move for renewable energy.
“Governments across the world are now more focused on tracking the crises caused by COVID-19 to economies than the press for energy transition but however energy transition is real and renewable energy is cheaper.
“Investors are conscious of environmental issues and are turning their back on hydrocarbon investments but history has shown that human beings have insatiable need of energy which renewables does not have the capacity to provide in the future.
“Expert projects that 80 per cent of world energy needs by 2040 will come from hydrocarbon,” he said.
Buhari said that fossil fuel would continue to be the source for petrol chemical and would remain a multi trillion business in coming decades.
“So, for us as a country with vast hydrocarbon potential, the situation is an opportunity and how we can utilise it is a matter of strategy,” he said.
According to him, developing the strategy is the core focus of the present administration in instituting NIPS in 2016.
He said that the fundamental outcome expected of the summit should be the strategies and new approached of the future of the hydrocarbon in the country.
“The outcome should also be on how to return on the attractive performance of the pre pandemic era.
“We cannot turn our back yet on more exploration, discovery of new field is crucial and we need to address short term opportunities using technology that can extend the life fields.
“Nobody should doubt our commitment to this because of our bold move by issuing new marginal field awards,” he said.
In his remarks, as Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Sylva said that physical hosting of the 2021 NIPS was an indication of the government’s commitment to developing the sector.
He said that though COVID-19 negatively impacted the oil sector, Nigeria had remained focused on its drive to bring investments in the sector.
He said that the choice of the topic was apt as it would help stakeholders to discuss way forward for the industry.
Sylva said that Nigeria remained focused in moving its economy to a gas economy and be relevant in the global industrialisation drive.
He said that the new focus to drive the sector was strong collaboration among industry players.
“With increased price volatility and increased pressure on cost reduction, our industry needs to reinvent itself so that it will utilise the dividends and set its self on track for industrialisation and prosperity.
“That is why we need to focus on new strategies. For me, the new approach is collaboration that is the paradigm shift we need to focus on.
“I know that collaboration should be the watch word in the oil and gas industry,” he said.
According to the minister, with the award of the marginal field, there is no better time for collaboration than now.
In his remarks, the president of the senate, Sen. Ahmed Lawan said that the legislature had a major role to play to ensure an effective oil and gas sector.
He said that the 9th National Assembly would continue to support all effort to ensure the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
“We will give Nigeria a fair act; we will listen to everyone, we have a cooperative approach, so we are working with all the stakeholders to get things done right.
“We have been able to achieve consultation on PIB and we are working with the joint committee and hopefully the bill will be passed in June.
“We are conscious of the fact that we must give Nigeria a legal framework that will help to guide effective utilisation of the huge deposit of hydrocarbon for growth,” he said.
Lawan assured that the bill to be passed would be a win-win for all, adding that all the demands of everyone, especially the host communities would be would be accommodated. (NAN)