23 November 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja – Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo has said the country will still need revenues from crude oil to rebuild her economy, diversify it and overcome her dependence on oil.
Osinbajo also said the country’s chances of deriving maximum benefits from her petroleum industry had increasingly contracted on the backs of the challenges foisted by the global energy trend.
Speaking at the presentation of three books authored by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, the vice president explained that trends in the global energy industry have shown that Nigeria cannot take as much benefits as it did in the past from the industry.
The Vice President said the country would notwithstanding, take as much as it can from the industry to quickly diversify her economy.
He noted that, “As we move to diversify our economy, we are acutely aware that we need oil to get out of oil. Yet, our window of opportunity to benefit maximally from the petroleum industry is narrowing.”
He added that, “The development of shale oil, which the author spends considerable time on, the increasing breakthrough in renewable energy use, the incredible speed of the expansion of the use of electric vehicles – Japan now has more electric charging stations than gas stations, all point inexorably that the party might be over sooner than we expected.”
The Vice President also said to ensure that the country derives the maximum benefits from the petroleum sector in spite of the global challenges, the federal government has had to deal head-on with critical issues bedeviling the sector.
He listed such issue to include the deregulation of the downstream sector and its continuing challenges.
Other issues, he added are vandalism of pipelines and export facilities and the critical drop in production, gas-to-power issue, the urgent imperatives of local refining, cash call problems and the plans to exit that regime and empowering indigenous operators.
He further lamented that the country’s oil and gas laws and policy are lacking of quality materials, pointing out that the three books written by Kachikwu would help fill that gap.
“These books are important because oil and gas laws and policy in Nigeria is notoriously underserved with quality materials. There are just not enough scholarly materials on the subject. But perhaps of greater importance is the pedigree of the author.
“With Kachikwu’s antecedents, it is expected that the quality of thoughts and insights and solutions that should be on offer should be unique indeed. I am pleased to say that from my assessment of one of the books, he did not disappoint,” Osinbajo added.
He maintained that Kachikwu clearly took advantage of the rare convergence of scholarship, contemporary experience and policy wisdom to deliver what are probably today the most significant contribution to the understanding of major issues and nuances of the Nigerian petroleum industry.
Similarly, Kachikwu explained at the launch that Nigeria is going through difficult times, where thinking outside the box is absolutely the key for the country to succeed as a nation.
In the meantime, the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, has advised the newly-inaugurated council on hydrocarbons to speedily formulate policies that will address challenges in the oil and gas sector.
Kachikwu gave the advice in Abuja on Tuesday at the resuscitation of the council. The Federal Executive Council presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, on October 5, gave the nod for the resuscitation of the council which had been in existence for sometime.
He said that the council acts as an ombudsman that meets once yearly to review policies in the sector, bringing together people from business, oil sector, oil communities and relevant ministries.
He said, “As you put together this hydrocarbon council, I urge all of you to take cognisance of so much that is going on in the Ministry of Petroleum. It is one of the most challenging, exciting times we have in creating, develop the right policies, right principles to address frustrations that are in the system.”
Kachikwu added that there was so much to do in the industry.
According to him, these include growth of the upstream through policies on oil and gas, passage of the long-sought-after petroleum industry bill and issues of Niger Delta security among others.
He said, “We’re setting for ourselves very comprehensive goals that we want everybody to participate in. We are taking the bull by the horn for every little problem that we have. Those solutions shouldn’t stop at the ministry.
“It should first begin with you, your various undertakings in the sector whether it’s as scholars, ministry representatives, investors, policy formulators, traditional rulers who provide framework.
“Whatever capacity, everybody needs to have an input. We will study it. There is nowhere in Nigeria today where there is an urgency of yesterday as the petroleum sector.
“Like I say, oil got us to where we are today. It is going to take oil to take us out of it.”
Speaking to newsmen after the event Kachikwu said the nation was not where it should be as per crude oil production and the bombing of the Forcados pipeline recently further hampered output.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mrs Jamila Shua’ra, said the essence of the meeting was to “engender a bottom-up approach to policy making.”
“We had 30 memos presented from the council at its inaugural stage. I think that is a good way to start. Next year, we hope to have a more robust session,” she added.
The stakeholders were drawn from oil producing states.
Hydrocarbon is an organic compound consisting of hydrogen and carbon is a primary energy source. The majority of hydrocarbons found on Earth occur in crude oil, which Nigeria has large deposits of it.