The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, has lamented the preference for foreign companies to indigenous companies in the execution of jobs in the oil and gas industry.
The minister particularly attributed the development to the continued reluctance of the International Oil Companies (IOCs) to sincerely implement in-country capacity building to drive the local content implementation.
Describing it as a big challenge the minister said; “If after 50 years of operation in Nigeria, foreign companies are preferred to indigenous companies; it clearly shows that there is a problem. This has to change.”
Alison-Madueke who was speaking at the Africa Energy Summit session during the Cambridge Energy Research Association (CERAWEEK 2013) in Houston, Texas, United States of America, also disclosed that the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) currently awaiting passage by the National Assembly would usher in new opportunities in the nation’s oil and gas industry.
“The PIB will ensure the development of our abundant oil and gas reserves, encourage significant infrastructural development and situate the gas revolution,” she said in a statement sign by the acting spokesperson of the NNPC, Tumini Green.
Represented by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation’s (NNPC) Group Executive Director Exploration and Production, Mr Abiye Membere, the minister pointed out that aside attracting new investors to the nation’s oil and gas industry, the PIB would also ensure that new fiscal regime was put in place to address all issues of equity among stakeholders.?
According to her; “A new acreage allocation system will be put in place and the time frame for the allotees to explore or drop will be strictly monitored. In addition, acreage sizes will be reduced and small players will be allowed to participate,” she said.
She maintained that the instability in the Niger Delta would be taken care of by the PIB adding that the country’s revenue would be well-managed and transparently allocated for a balanced development of the nation.
commenting on the host communities, she stated that their non-involvement in the oil and gas projects created distrust between them and the? investors because they? were not originally involved.
“The host communities must be carried along and seriously involved in the project from the beginning, and well planned Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities must be put in place to avoid destruction of investors’ facilities and disruption of operations,” she said.
She further pledged to share ideas with other oil producing African nations so as to avoid the pitfalls that countries like Nigeria have had.
However, Mr Carlos Pascual, Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs, US Department of State, advised African countries to link oil and gas development with the development of energy and power.
Pascual, who emphasised the important position of Nigeria in the African continent, called on other African countries in the oil and gas business to look up to Nigeria, avoid the country’s mistakes and emulate its successes in order to get it right.
He however, stressed that the issue of security and kidnapping in African nations remained a big concern to the world and called on the African Heads of State to come together and find a lasting solution to the problem.