By Stella Bassey
The Nigerian petroleum industry, having come a long way, had over the years, became a focal point in sub-Saharan Africa’s petroleum landscape.
The country is currently blazing the trail in the continent’s petroleum and is setting a standard that other countries are trying to meet up with.
Presently, Nigeria’s petroleum industry is the largest in Africa with proven oil and gas reserves of 37 billion barrels and 192 trillion cubic feet respectively.
The sector contributes about 10 percent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product and accounts for 95 percent of all exports.
In one of its reports, Pricewaterhouse Coopers estimated that Africa currently supplies about 12 percent of the world’s oil and boasts significant untapped reserves estimated at eight percent of the world’s proven reserves, increasing over the last few decades from 5.8 percent in 1991 and 7.6 percent in 2001.
PwC noted that 81 percent of this oil production came from Nigeria, Libya, Algeria, Egypt and Angola in 2011.
It added that Africa has proven natural gas reserves of 513 trillion cubic feet (TCF) with 91 per cent of the annual natural gas production of 7.1TCF coming from Nigeria, Libya, Algeria and Egypt.
The Nigerian oil and gas industry has been vibrant since the discovery of crude oil in 1956 by the Shell Group, largely dominated by multinational corporations until the early 1990s when Nigerian companies began to make a foray into the industry.
The PwC report noted that developments in the Nigerian petroleum industry have consistently had a significant impact on the operational and funding environment for Africa as a whole.
Nigeria has been leading in innovation in the sub-Saharan African petroleum industry, chief among which is increased indigenous participation and deployment of technology.
The country is a major rallying point for other African oil and gas producing countries, as evidenced in its steering of the affairs of African Petroleum Producers Organisation, APPO.
Following its successes in pushing for an oil output cut, Nigeria had led other oil producing countries in Africa, to surmount a number of challenges in the industry, ranging from finance, operations, technology, manpower development and growth among others.
It was against this backdrop that the Federal Government muted the idea of an international petroleum summit that would rival the Offshore Technology Conference, OTC, and other major international oil and gas forum.
The Nigeria International Petroleum Summit, which has as its theme: ‘Leading Africa’s response to global oil and gas challenges’, was proposed by the government to serve as a rallying point for major players in the industry across the African continent and beyond.
The major attraction for the setting up of a forum of such magnitude, according to the Federal Government was to make the country a major investment destination, showcasing the numerous investment potentials in the country.
The Nigeria International Petroleum Summit, NIPS, was created to provide a perfect platform for the world to meet Nigeria’s Oil and Gas industry players.
It was also introduced to create a meeting point between key Nigerian political decision-makers, government officials as well as directors and specialists from the Ministry, NNPC and other relevant governmental bodies on the one part and directors of national and international companies, multinational and multilateral organizations, the academia and other relevant stakeholders, among others, on the other hand.
The organizers said it would be an international exhibition of economic operators, national and international companies and potential investors coming together to present new technologies and know-how in the petroleum sector.
Apart from being a launching pad for new onshore and offshore technologies among leading exploration and production servicing companies, some of the robust and anticipated offerings at the NIPS 2018 would also include opportunity to witness licensing/bid rounds, bid sign-off, major contract signing and economic diversification initiatives of the country.
On his own part, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, said the summit, which is scheduled to hold between February 19 and 23, 2018, would explore innovations and technologies covering the upstream, mid-stream and downstream sectors of the petroleum industry.
He also added that the NIPS would be held yearly, and would serve as a platform to highlight Nigeria’s long history of oil and gas production, substantial reserves and also cement the country’s position as a major player in the global oil and gas scene.
Also commenting, Mr. James Shindi, Project Director of the NIPS, said companies would get a unique opportunity to create business linkages, market their goods and services directly to decision makers from around the globe.
He added that it would also be an opportunity for companies to re-affirm their market presence and further demonstrate their commitment to the Nigerian and Africa’s oil and gas industry.
He noted that as Africa’s largest and most influential oil producer, Nigeria had continued to play a leading role in the global energy space, while he pointed out that the NIPS creates another outlet for Nigeria to lead the way in Africa’s response to the various challenges facing the oil and gas industry.
He said the decision of the government to set up the NIPS was to create the perfect platform for cross pollination of ideas at the highest levels, networking, business and local content development, government to business, business to business, government to government and other linkages while promoting Nigeria as a business and tourism destination to the global energy community.
He explained that the event would be run on a Public Private Partnership, PPP basis and be self-funding which explains why the government undertook an international competitive bidding process to select a partner to work with on terms, which the government set out.
According to Shindi, these are very strict terms but they ensure that the partnership works and all parties deliver on their roles and responsibilities.
He said, “The government has demonstrated adequate commitment to this event. For instance, the Federal Executive Council has already granted approval for the event to take place. The support from the government has been fantastic.
“There are regular planning meetings, which involve all the government agencies under the Ministry, including the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, Petroleum Equalisation Fund, PEF, Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board, NCDMB, Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, Petroleum Technology Development Fund, PTDF and Petroleum Technology Institute, PTI.
“There are also wider consultations with other agencies outside the Ministry of Petroleum to ensure that the event goes well. The government has also officially invited other governments to attend, including National Oil Companies from both the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC and non-OPEC members.
“The aim is to make this event a global reference point for energy related discourse globally.” This event seems to be too important for any stakeholder to miss out.”
Continuing, he said, “From the government’s point of view, this event will enable them glean ideas and feedback from operators in the industry because the event is deliberately designed to be more than just another talk show.
“The aim is to discuss topical issue, offer recommendations which can be tracked so that in another 12 months when we gather again, it is easy to assess where we were back then, where we are at present and where we could likely be over short, medium and long term.
“In every country where oil and gas is produced, success of the industry or its failure has always been down to how strong partnerships develop and is maintained between the public and private sectors. This event has given both the public and private sectors an even deeper sense of working together and this confidence will only grow over time. There is absolutely no doubt that going forward, these partnerships will only deepen.”
It is expected that the forum would present opportunities for stakeholders to discuss the numerous challenges confronting the African oil and gas landscape and proffer suggestions on how the challenges can be surmounted.
It is expected that the NIPS would throw up new ideas, new partnerships and new frontiers for the growth and development of the Nigerian, as well as the African petroleum industry, while at the end, a new course would have been charted to ensure that the Nigerian petroleum industry rank among the best in the global petroleum landscape.