The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mallam Mele Kyari, has called on African countries, particular leaders and oil and gas players in the continent, to focus on providing structures that would ensure energy security for their citizens.
He, made the call in Abuja, while presenting his keynote address to set the tone for a panel discussion at the third edition of the Nigerian International Petroleum Summit (NIPS) that ended wednesday.
Kyari, who spoke on the topic: “Oil and Gas: Future Scenarios and Implications for Security, Environment and Economic Growth,” noted that the corporation has a framework in place towards ensuring energy security in Nigeria.
“African countries must focus on building structures that ensures energy security for the citizens. NNPC is committed to that and has a framework to make sure that the needed energy is available for the needs of the country,” he stated.
The GMD, who acknowledged the global clamour for energy transition from fossil fuels to renewable sources, however noted that hydrocarbons would continue to form the larger part of the energy mix in the foreseeable future.
“Several researches continue to confirm that by 2040, renewables will be contributing about 20 percent of the global energy mix. This implies that fossil fuels will still contribute at least 70 percent,” he argued.
He, therefore, urged African countries, who are still mostly underdeveloped, to continue to utilise the hydrocarbon resources available to them to develop energy sources for their populace.
According to him, “the focus must be in making sure that the energy is clean. We have to use what we have. Today, oil is being found in unexpected places.
“This contributes to the growth of middle class consumers. And so demand of fuel will continue with increase with population and prosperity. Global demands will remain over 100 million barrels per day.”
Kyari, added that African countries should focus not solely on the clamour for renewables but largely on the need to deliver energy for the development of their people.
Also speaking at the event, the Managing Director of Waltersmith Petroman, Chikezie Nwosu, said African countries had huge resource deposits, but were very low on resource consumption and consequently, low Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth.
He called on African countries to focus more on consumption against export.
“The key thing to do is to decarbonize fossil fuels. Africans must not focus on selling commodities but on converting the hydrocarbons into consumable products,” Nwosu stated.
Nwosu, also at the forum, announced that his company was building the needed infrastructure that would convert fossil fuels’ feed stock into consumable products.
Also speaking about developing the gas sector for national economic growth, the President of the Nigerian Gas Association (NGA), Mrs. Audrey Joe-Ezigbo, noted that the power sector was the largest consumer of gas in the country.
According to her, “the power sector in Nigeria is plagued by huge liquidity issues”.
Joe-Ezigbo asserted that such uncertainty was not attractive to new investors, and called for better commercial framework that would attract more investors to develop the gas sector.
Nigeria is Major Destination for Italian Investors, Says Trade Envoy
James Emejo in Abuja
Italian Trade Agency Director for West Africa, Mr. Alessandro Gerbino, has said the country remains a top priority for Italian investors looking for opportunities in the West African sub-region.
He said though Italy’s market share in Nigeria is currently below average, with total bilateral trade estimated at €2 billion, both countries have immense opportunities to explore to strengthen economic ties.
Speaking in Abuja when he visited the Italian ambassador to Nigeria, he said Nigeria could benefit from Italy’s technological breakthrough to diversify its economy from crude oil.
Specifically, Gerbino said: “Nigeria has raw materials and wants to diversify the economy and so the most natural thing that comes to my mind is that Italy has excellent machinery, high performing machinery to produce high quality products.”
He said Nigeria has the opportunity to process much of its raw materials into finished products which could be re-exported to International markets.
He said: “Italy is a country that has made its fortune on its ability to transform raw materials. Italy does not have raw materials on its own or very little but still we are a big economy in the world.
“We have succeeded in transforming the raw materials that we source and after that we sold the technology abroad. And those who are now our competitors did it with our technology.”
He said Nigeria could advance its economy by deploying Italian technology to revive its wood work, building materials, ceramics, shoes and leather, textile as well as agricultural sectors to create jobs for its population.
Gerbino, further explained that the purpose of the agency’s visit to the country was to facilitate increased cooperation of businesses between both countries.
He disclosed that an Italian business delegation comprising 15 firms will be coming into the country for the plastic and packaging exhibition scheduled to hold March in Lagos.
He said: “We are looking at the dynamics of the market. Our feeling is that there is a lot to do but there is some homework to be done on both sides to get it right.
“What I know for sure is that our market share in Nigeria is below average meaning we definitely have margins to do better and this means there are opportunities for Italian companies and also a lot of opportunities for Nigerian companies to do business with made in Italy products.
“Nigeria appears immediately as our priority and that’s why together with the embassy, we needed to put a lot of effort into making this opening possible.
“Our purpose is to strengthen ties among the companies in both countries. We need Italians to know more about Nigeria and we Nigerians to know more about Italian companies and how they can work together.”
Meanwhile, the Italian Trade Agency has unveiled its office in Lagos.
Trade Analyst at ITA, Johnmark Nzemeke, said, the agency, “promotes Italian made products in foreign countries by supporting Italian companies in the internationalisation process. It supports Italian companies through an integrated offer of information, training, promotion and consultancy services to get to know foreign markets, identify new opportunities and consolidate international relations.”