Okon Bassey in Uyo
About $380 billon is said to have been lost in the nation’s oil and gas operations in areas of fabrication, engineering procurement and training in the last 50 years.
The Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Science and Technology, Prof. Nse Udo Essien, disclosed this yesterday at the inauguration of the Akwa Ibom Oil and Gas Training and Research Centre.
Essien said the capital flight incurred would lead to estimated job loss opportunities of over two million Nigerians.
According to him, “To redress this trend, the federal government set up the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDB) which is the vanguard in localising inputs in our oil and gas operations.
“The setting up of this training centre is our modest effort to join hands with NCDMB to indigenise our oil and gas operation for job and wealth creation, optimal benefits of Nigerian and to arrest capital flight.”
He said the setting up of the training centre in Akwa Ibom State was as a result of discussion with Halliburton Nigeria which started in 2016 to explore the possibility of establishing an oil and gas training centre in the state.
The commissioner explained that the oil and gas training centre would help deepen our capacity building efforts, bridge skill gaps and ensure that Nigerians fully partake in all aspects of the oil and gas value chain.
The centre, he said, is a world class school with excellent curriculum and a state of the art facility to offer courses in field development, drilling and completion engineering, well intervention solutions and digital technologies to address the local peculiarities.
The state Governor, Udom Emmanuel, represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Etekamba Umoren, noted that the research centre was another bold step the state made that it is willing to join and be positioned as the foremost oil and gas state in the Gulf of Guinea.
“As most of us may be aware, for some years now, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) reports have truly but painfully rated Nigeria as one of the least developed economics in world on the basis of low Human Development Index.
“Oil companies spend billions of naira annually to send their staff for training outside the shores of , and this training Centre seeks to address this capital flight,” the governor stated.
He maintained that the training centre, when fully operational, would help in the capacity building and boost the training of oil and gas personnel in Nigeria as well as state internally generated revenue, (IGR), reduce capital flight and save foreign exchange for Nigeria.
On his part, the Managing Director of Halliburton Nigeria, Mr. Henry Oki represented by Mr. Okey Okoli, said the company wanted to collaborate with the state government and engineer solutions to oil and gas operational problems in Nigeria.
He said with continue support and cooperation from the state government, the company would turn things around in the oil and gas industry in the country.