18 March 2015, Abuja – International and local operators in the Nigerian petroleum sector on Wednesday declared that there was palpable fear in the industry as a result of the current low prices of crude oil in the global market.
According to them, the low prices and uncertainties in the local fiscal environment have prompted oil companies to review their work programmes across the country.
The operators made their position known during the leaders’ session at the ongoing Nigeria Oil and Gas Conference in Abuja.
The Managing Director, Total Upstream, Elizabeth Proust; Shell Country Chair, Osagie Okunbor; Managing Director, ExxonMobil, Nolan O’Neal; and managing directors of other notable oil firms agreed that there was a need for the government to collaborate with the industry to address the challenges confronting it.
They also decried difficulties they were facing in getting oil mining licences renewed as well as the multiple tendering processes adopted by the Federal Government.
Proust said there was fear among employees of the oil firms and service contractors on the future of the sector due to difficulties emanating from the low crude oil prices.
She said, “It is a difficult time that we face together. There is fear. There is fear among our staff in all the companies. There is fear among the staff of the service contractors and communities. But we have reasons to be optimistic.
“We operate in an industry, which can adapt and adapt very quickly. We need to be prepared to face maybe a long period with this level of price. It is not short term impact, it is a long term impact that we need to be prepared for.
“In the oil industry, we have to first preserve predictions. This is important because we need to preserve most of our work programmes. We look at the future and all the companies are reviewing their business plans.”
Proust noted that it was important for the industry to engage in a dialogue with the government on how to tackle some of the challenges facing it as most operators were struggling.
“We have brought so many good things to the country and millions of people depend on the oil and gas industry. Despite the price, we can adapt and we are ready to discuss with the government,” she said.