Yemie Adeoye and Oscarline Onwuemenyi
07 May 2013, Sweetcrude, Houston, Texas – Even as the Offshore Technology Conference, OTC, kicked off yesterday in the city of Houston, Texas in the United States of America, one thing that could not be missed by thousands of Nigerian attendees and exhibitors was the conspicuous absence of Nigeria’s Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke at the event.
This will mark the first time ever since Nigeria began attending the global oil and gas forum that a sitting minister of petroleum in the country would fail to attend.
What is even more remarkable about the Minister’s absence at the global annual petroleum conference which is hailed as, arguably the biggest forum for oil and gas operators and investors in the world, is that she was reported to have accompanied President Goodluck Jonathan on a trip to South Africa, while typically neglecting the more relevant platform of the OTC to rationalize the woes bedeviling the nation’s oil and gas sector.
Meanwhile, the effervescent monthly review of the Nigerian energy industry, SweetcrudeReports, has reached another landmark as the nation’s sole publication on the industry to be well-received among industry operators at the OTC.
SweetcrudeReports, the ground-breaking monthly review on the nation’s oil and gas industry, has lived up to pre-conference billings as a major force in Nigeria’s efforts to demonstrate the growth taking place in the sector.
SweetcrudeReports, which made a bold entrance at this year’s OTC with a bumper 80-page package, profiling a large volume of Nigerian companies and major operators in the oil and gas industry, was well received by most conference attendees as a worthy ambassador of the country’s energy industry.
Interestingly, SweetcrudeReports’ focus for this special edition entitled: ‘Nigeria: Oil Industry in Reverse Gear’, is a dispassionate appraisal of the woes that have befallen the oil and gas industry in the country, ranging from inefficient and bungling management of the sector, official hubris, corruption, theft, policy inconsistencies and lame duck administration.
This year would mark the fourth year since SweetcrudeReports’ well-heralded debut at the OTC in 2009.
However, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Mr. Andy Yakubu, who was left with the awkward mission of representing the Minister and who declared the Nigerian Pavilion open, said the exploits by local marketers, operators and service providers in the sector has vindicated government’s drive for indigenous participation in the industry.
Yakubu added that government was further motivated to push for more robust reform through the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, which will transform the nation’s oil and gas sector for the benefit of the Nigerian economy.
According to him, “The progress that we have seen in the Nigerian oil and gas industry over the years is not only predicated by the number of pavilions exhibiting here today, but over the last 12 months since we were here, we have seen so much progress in the sector, the sort of creativity from our own indigenous operators and service providers that really encourages us at the leadership level to continue expanding our own frontier, to continue to given robust support to our indigenous operators and service providers.”
The Minister also acknowledged the “financial wherewithal and technological expertise and partnership that multinational companies and foreign companies operating in the Nigerian oil and gas industry, and we expect that they will continue with us for a very long time to come.”
He added that, since the passage of the Nigerian Content Act, there has been remarkable progress by industry operators and government to ensure the involvement of Nigerian companies in the offshore sector.
“It is really remarkable to see the tremendous progress that Nigerian operators and service providers have made over the past couple of years. I can only imagine what will happen in the oil and gas industry over the next three years if we continue to do what we are doing, and if we continue to move the frontiers that we are moving at this time.
“I can assure you as government representative in this industry, we will continue to aggressively and robustly support marketers, operators and service providers in the Nigerian oil and gas industry to the best of our ability as we go forward,” Yakubu stated.