Baru: Why Nigeria Must Unlock New Oil Reserves

Maikanti Baru

The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru, has warned that Nigeria is facing stiff competition from new oil and gas discoveries in Africa and the world.

Owing to this, the NNPC boss has stressed the need for the country to open up new barrels of oil reserves to remain competitive going forward.
Baru, who spoke at the 2019 annual Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Oloibiri Lecture Series and Energy Forum, charged members of the group to come up with a blueprint for energy security and sustainability in Nigeria.

He explained in his presentation entitled: “Energy Security and Sustainable Development in Nigeria: The Way Forward,” that the country had a huge energy deficit with demand for energy still growing rapidly.

According to him, Nigeria was facing a new challenge in the form of competition from new oil production centres across the globe, particularly Africa, adding that there was need to, “unlock new barrels as quickly as possible to stay relevant in the new emerging world.”

“Despite abundant oil and gas reserves, Nigeria experiences shortages in electric power. Based on Nigeria’s energy consumption current and forecast, available statistics showed an increase from 6 gigawatts (GW) in 2015 to 30GW by 2025 with the primary source of the current power supply being from hydro and gas.

“The future consumption which is expected to drive growth by 2025 would need aggressive development of gas and renewables projects to meet the exponential demand,” said Baru.
He listed efforts by the corporation to bridge the energy supply-demand gap to include accelerated development of gas resources and facilities; rehabilitation of existing refineries; investments in renewable energy projects; and focus on exploration of the frontier basins to boost reserves.

Baru, asked members of the SPE to, “proffer an industry roadmap to guarantee energy security and sustainability for the nation.”
Meanwhile, the NNPC boss has called on the academic community and industrial sector in Nigeria to embrace a new approach to sustainable industrial growth by ridding themselves of the mentality of being perpetual receiver or giver of research grants and donations.

A separate statement from the NNPC said Baru, stated this while delivering the second convocation lecture of the Federal University of Petroleum Resources (FUPRE), Effurun in Delta State.

He noted that the industrial sector and academia could build a sustainable relationship when the industry buys profitable ideas from the academia to deploy for efficient production and service delivery.

According to him, universities contribute vital research to the oil and gas industry by finding new ways to boost efficiency and extract oil and gas from the earth in an environmentally conscious and sustainable manner.

He equally explained that the industrial sector has to make sustained efforts in supporting higher education by helping to develop the technical skills of students for employability.

Baru, also underlined that the collaboration between the academia and the industry should be for mutual benefits, and said through development of entrepreneurship cells in universities and technology incubations centres; involvement of alumni as mentor for students; setting up of venture funds to support innovative entrepreneurship; and provision of incentives for research and development, both parties could achieve sustainable collaboration.