• Dickson wants IOCs’ offices relocated to N’Delta
By Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
A summit put together by stakeholders in the oil and gas industry has ended in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, with a pledge by major actors in the sector to rededicate themselves to the rapid development of local content in the industry.
Many of the major players in the industry, including the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu; Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru; Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Simbi Wabote and heads of International Oil Companies (IOCs) agreed to work for more local participation in the industry.
During the 8th Practical Nigerian Content Conference which had the theme ‘Nigerian Content :Driving Economic Development and Stability’, Kachukwu who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr. Folashade Yemi-Esan, noted that with the “unleashing” of the new oil and gas policies, the industry was about to witness and upswing in growth.
The minister acknowledged the role NCMDB was playing in adding value to the nation’s hydrocarbon resources as well as supporting investors seeking to establish modular refineries in the country.
He described the conference as a veritable platform for industry stakeholders to assess the achievements of the Nigerian Content Act, its successes, challenges and new frontiers of possible improvements.
“On our part, we have rolled up our sleeves to deliver the type of outcomes we deserve in the industry. From unleashing the new oil and gas policies to sorting out the negative cash calls problem in the upstream sector and putting in place mechanism to address supply hiccups in the downstream sector, we have managed to stabilise our business environment and stem the tide of decline” Kachikwu said.
In his intervention, Baru said the corporation had succeeded in institutionalising the local content policy, noting that the implementation of the Local Content Act had moved the 2010 in-country capacity for pipelines production from a paltry 100,000 metric tonnes (10 per cent of annual Industry demand of one million) to 420,000 metric tonnes, representing 40 per cent of total industry demand.
He added that today, Nigerians were playing a huge role in the oil and gas sector, including participation in bidding processes for crude oil and contracts in the sector.
He assured the NCDMB of the corporation’s readiness for collaboration to promote the development and commercialisation of home-grown technology and reaffirmed NNPC’s commitment to comply with the provisions of the Nigerian Content Act to increase in-country value addition and support job creation.
“NNPC’s new focus on localisation cannot be more apt. This concept will ensure that all crude oil and condensates are refined locally for export and globally after local demand is met” Baru assured.
Mr. Wabote, ES of the NCDMB had earlier said that the Board was currently implementing a 10-year strategic roadmap hinged on the five pillars of technical capability development, compliance and enforcement, enabling business environment, organising capacity as well as sectoral and regional market linkages.
He revealed that the Board would relocate to its 17-storey headquarters office in Yenagoa in the first quarter of next year and when operationalised would be the tallest building in the Niger Delta.
Wabote, an engineer said that the NCDMB had successfully supported the Egina FPSO in its integration activities and played a role in catalysing the establishment of local modular refineries in the Niger Delta.
In his comments, Governor Seriake Dickson bemoaned ta situation where major oil and gas deals are concluded in faraway places with little or no consideration for the interest of oil producing communities.
Dickson urged oil majors to obey the Local Content Act by relocating their headquarters to Bayelsa where most of them carry out a greater part of their businesses.
“We hope that by the time that wonderful edifice is completed and put to use, we will see more oil and gas deals being concluded in the great state of Bayelsa and that will add to the local economy.
“However, we frown on the current situation where most of these mega deals are concluded in faraway places.
“When you talk of local content, we have to be completely local. It means oil producing companies have to stay here, open their offices and interface more directly and robustly with the communities, state government and the NCDMB” he said.