By Edith Ike-Eboh
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timpre Sylva, has commended the effort of the Senegalese government in seeking Nigeria’s support for the development of its oil and gas sector.
Sylva gave the commendation while receiving the Senegalese Energy Minister, Aissitou Sophie Gladima and her delegation, in Abuja, on Monday.
He said that Africa needed to come together and work to support development in the region and reduce over dependence on foreigners for growth.
“I want to use this opportunity to welcome you, as I said, it is important for us as a region to come together because as they say, you have to say yes before someone from outside says yes to you.
“We as Africans must come together to work together in order to chat way forward; we cannot continue to depend on Europe and the outside world.
“In fact, it has been proven that they cannot be responsible for our development, we have to take full responsibility of our development and that is why we are very happy that you are here today,’’ he said
Sylva said that Nigeria had some advantage as country that has being in the oil and gas sector for a very long time and had learnt a lot of lessons and made some mistakes too.
He said that oil production activities started in Nigeria in 1937 but commercial discovery was made in 1950s, adding that first commercial discovery was made in 1956 and first cargo of crude left Nigeria in 1958.
“That means that we have been effectively in oil production for over 60 years, that is some kind of advantage and of course a lot of lessons have been learnt .
“When we started production activities in Nigeria,we were completely spectators, every position was occupied by expatriates, our communities were just on lookers to the activities but since then a lot has happened.
“It has been a lot of capacity development in Nigeria and today significant percentage of Nigeria’s crude is being produced by Nigerian companies.
“And also, the Nigerian involvement in the IOCs have increased very significantly to the extent that some of them have Nigerians as their Managing Directors in their Nigeria subsidiaries, like the chairman of Shell is a Nigerian,’’ he said
He said that Nigeria had grown a global NLNG company that is wholly Nigeria where from MD to the least staff are Nigerians, adding that Nigeria was in position to impact some of the experience to other African countries.
On local content, he said that Nigeria had grown its local content from three per cent in the past 10 years to about 43 per cent and target to grow it to 70 per cent by 2027.
“We are very committed to this because that is the only way to domicile the benefit of oil; if you are producing oil and all the benefits are going out of the country and nobody is participating in the country, you will not get the benefits.
“One of the benefits of the oil and gas production is to make sure that wealth is domiciled in the country,’’ he said
He further said that as activities had just started in Senegal oil and gas sector, it was the best time to incorporate some of the Nigerian experience to help them develop efficiently and contribute to economic growth of their country.
He assured that Nigeria would support the Senegal energy sector to grow and urged the country to join the African Petroleum Producers Organisation (APPO).
In her remarks, Gladima thanked the minister for the hospitality and said that the country had longed to partner with Nigeria to gain from its wealth of experience in the oil and gas sector.
She said that Nigeria’s over 50 years of oil production was an excellent example for Senegal as it is beginning to grow its own industry.
He said that the country would like Nigeria to support her in four areas of security management in the oil and gas, National Oil Company (NOC) Organsation, local content regulation and NOC strategies.
She expressed interest to join APPO to help the development of the sector in Senegal (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)