â€¢ Says Nigeria will begin Africaâ€™s version of OTC next year
Chineme Okafor in Houston, Texas
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, has said the federal government will no longer sponsor delegates to the annual Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston, Texas, United States starting from 2018.
Kachikwu also said the country has perfected plans to begin an African version of the OTC in 2018, adding that existing top rate annual oil and gas conferences hosted in the country like the Nigerian Oil and Gas (NOG) conference and exhibition, would be collapsed into the new larger and improved conference.
The minister made this disclosure on Tuesday at a meeting with investors and stakeholders in Nigeriaâ€™s oil and gas sector at the ongoing OTC in Houston, Texas, United States.
The OTC is an annual showpiece for experts in the oil and gas sector who come together to brainstorm, network, and showcase new technological advancements in offshore oil and gas exploration.
Kachikwu, however, said Nigeria would take the centre stage in hosting a version for the African oil market. He noted that the first of this could hold in Abuja.
He also stated that state-sponsorship to OTC in Houston would now be strictly for technical experts in any of the government agencies in the oil sector.
According to him, the country in 2016 sponsored 250 delegates to the OTC, while just about 50 were sponsored to the 2017 edition. For 2018, he added that he would work hard to ensure that not more than 20 delegates are sponsored.
â€œThere will no longer be sponsorship to the OTC except for very technical experts. Everyone willing to come to the conference in future should fund his way.
â€œWe will however work to build an OTC that the world would buoyantly come to the same way we buoyantly come to yours,â€ Kachikwu told the audience at the meeting.
The African version of OTC, he explained has also got the backing of some African oil ministers who has urged Nigeria to step up the plan.
Industry experts, who spoke to THISDAY on the development on the sidelines of the meeting, stated that the new measure was a good one for the government which is looking to cut its operational costs.
They noted that the OTC has become an annual jamboree and source of claiming estacode by most officials in the ministry parastatals, including those with no relevance to deliberations at the conference.
Similarly, they stated that the OTC has been seized by politicians mostly from the National Assembly who collect estacode, lounge away in Houstonâ€™s luxury hotels, go on shopping sprees, but hardly attend sessions at the conference.
THISDAY also observed that the delegation from Nigeria is usually one of the largest at the OTC every year.