Nigeria moves to unlock oil, gas potential with regional investments

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Nigeria moves to unlock oil, gas potential with regional investments


The Federal Government has advocated strong push for Nigeria and other members of the African Petroleum Producers Association (APPO) to develop regional oil and gas investments and renegotiate the Conference of Parties (COP-21) Climate Change Agreement which is driving the accelerated move by developed countries to discontinue fossil fuels (oil and gas) as the preferred source of energy for transportation and embrace renewable sources.

This was the position of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, at the maiden edition of the African Local Content Roundtable at the Nigerian Content Tower in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, at the weekend.

 The Minister, in his keynote address at the two-day retreat, attended by representatives of APPO member-states physically and via the virtual platforms, charged African oil-producing countries and their oil and gas companies to cooperate closely in developing and sharing capacities and capabilities that would optimise hydrocarbon deposits and achieve economic growth and development.

“He also advised that it was time to quickly move to innovative funding mechanisms for major projects using local resources and break away from the yoke of depending on foreign lenders who are becoming increasingly reluctant to fund hydrocarbon-related projects.”

Sylva also expressed hope that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) would make it possible for well-established local manufacturing, operating and service companies to operate across the continent’s hydrocarbons industry without hitches.

In his presentation, the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Simbi Kesiye Wabote, hinted that the African Local Content Roundtable is a key initiative of the Board’s Nigerian Content 10-Year Strategic Roadmap and the intent is to extend local content across the African continent and ensure access to market for capacities that have been developed locally.

He recommended that one of the strategies for growing local content on the continent is by creating an Africa Local Content Fund that could be utilised to set up a bank or finance institution to provide funding for the development of oil and gas projects in Africa.

He said the funding arrangement had become necessary in view of the declaration of some countries and banks to stop funding hydrocarbon-related projects in their push for a shift towards renewables.

“These funds can also be utilised to part-finance infrastructural projects in support of production and evacuation of oil and gas products for use by the African populace,” he added.

Wabote also emphasised the need for African oil producers to invest in research and development, insisting that “no nation can really develop by being a consumer of other countries technology and intellectual properties.

“Local content thrives where there is robust research and development guideline to drive development of home-grown technology.  Countries that have witnessed appreciable local content level such as Brazil attributed the growth to the priority attention given to R&D.”

In his address, Secretary General, APPO, Dr. Omar Farouk Ibrahim, announced the plan by the association in partnership with the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other like-minded bodies to demand for the renegotiation of the climate change agreement during the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) scheduled for November 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland.

He said: “Our position is that we have looked at the 2015 COP 21 Climate Change Agreement and we believe that there is a need for some review of some things that our leaders signed on our behalf.

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