Stakeholders advocate new strategies to cushion effect of sliding oil prices

18 December 2014, Lagos – The unsteady crude oil prices has again drawn the attention of major stakeholders in the petroleum sector, who advocated a critical need to re-order the economic priorities of the nation, to ensure a sustainable growth.

The stakeholders, who gathered at the annual business dinner and award ceremony hosted by the Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN) in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, said the Federal Government must also look inwards for a more effective strategy to translate its huge petroleum resources into rapid industrial and economic growth.

Oil prices dropThey however concurred that the drive for increased local content in the petroleum industry by the Federal Government was quite timely and strategic against the dreaded oil price burst, which currently threatens commerciality of operations in the sector.

The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Ernest Nwapa, said the local content policy has progressed beyond reversal and oil price drop means that indigenous players in the industry must rise to the challenge of driving the industry at times of commercial adversity.

He urged operators under the aegis of PETAN and other sister associations in the industry to assume more responsibility at critical moments to ensure the survival of the Nigerian petroleum industry.

He added that the only way out of the tight oil price curve was for the different business interests in the industry to foster unity in tackling a common problem.

Nwapa pointed out that the indigenous players in the oil and gas industry have escaped the average psychological limits in the country, stressing that the mindset of the industry has developed above the Nigerian psychological template.

The recent advances and milestones recorded by local players, he said, indicated that investors have started advancing into new frontiers driven by strong belief in local capacity to deliver on tough assignments in challenging terrains.

He noted also that bankers’ support for the industry has also continued to improve with the rising indigenous capacity for job execution.

Managing Director, Oando Gas and Power, Bolaji Osunsanya, agreed that survival of the Nigerian Petroleum industry and the success of running policy programmes depend on ability of local service providers to deliver.

He stated that PETAN has the challenge of developing the technology that would enable the industry overcome lean margins under the current price downturn.

Dwelling on his paper titled, Monetizing Natural Gas to transform Nigeria’s Economy, Osunsanya who is also the current President of the Nigerian Gas Association (NGA) advised Nigeria to harness more gas for catalyzing rapid industrial growth as the sustainable path to economic development.

While pointing out the key role of gas in global power generation, he said that the combination gas and power form the prime index of a country’s economic development and key indicators of standard of living.

He lamented that whereas one of the world’s biggest natural gas resources in equal split between associated and non-associated gas, the domestic petroleum industry and policy formulators have failed to translate the resources into economic development.

“There is a correlation between gas consumption ratio of a country and the nation’s economic development,” he declared adding that the current level of gas development in the country remains grossly inadequate to meet the nation’s economic targets.

He urged indigenous player in the industry to think Nigerian and explore practical solutions to the Nigerian power and gas supply challenges through technology and investments.

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