By Yunus Yusuf
Lagos – Dr Maikanti Baru, the Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), on Monday called for proactive actions to reduce the country’s dependence on oil and gas.
Baru, who spoke at the 2018 Nigerian Annual International Conference and Exhibition (NAICE) in Lagos, identified the reliance on oil and gas, as responsible for the economic recession experienced in the country recently.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the conference with the theme: “Diversification of the Nigerian Economy- The oil and gas industry as an Enabler,” was organised by the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), Nigeria Council.
“This obvious lack of proactive action unfortunately exposed the country to economic shock occasioned by the global economic crises that culminated in the recession experience recently,” he said.
Baru said the SPE 2018 theme was in line with the vision of the present administration of energising the national economy through robust sectorial development.
He said with oil reserves of about 37 billion barrels and 199 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves, Nigeria was well positioned to generate resources and accelerate developments.
According to him, once this is achieved, Nigeria should be self sufficient in providing general services, agriculture and manufacturing, among others.
The Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, said at the conference that the country needed to pursue and develop an enabling environment that would promote transparency in the oil and gas sector.
Dogara said the Legislature had given tacit support to ensure that the industry was run in a more transparent way.
Dogara, who was represented by Mr Sejus Ogun, said the House had demonstrated the support through accelerated passage of the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) now waiting for presidential accent.
He also assured that the remaining three other bills would receive the desired attention, as the Legislators were concerned and willing to provide the investment climate to drive the industry.
The Minister of state for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, said the industry required a robust legislation that would help in the ongoing Federal Government transformation.
Kachikwu, who was represented by Mr Johnson Awoyemi, said the Federal Executive Council (FEC) had demonstrated commitment towards strengthening the industry by giving approval to the oil and gas policies.
He urged the conference to come up with suggestions and strategies that would engender transparency, reduce contracting cycle issues, bring about cost reductions and accelerate development across the value chain.
Earlier, the Chairman, SPE Nigeria Council, Mr Chikezie Nwosu, called for immediate action to leverage the opportunities presented by the industry to develop other sectors.
Nwosu regretted that the country had moved slowly in the quest to take advantage of the sector to fully transform the economy.
He said government should not lose focus of the opportunities in the National Gas Policy, “as gas is critical to support such agenda.’’
He said the geology of Nigeria showed that its gas reserve of about 180 trillion cubic feet could be raise to about 600 trillion cubic feet.