The President and Petroleum Minister, Muhammadu Buhari today flagged off the premier edition of the Nigeria International Petroleum Summit in Abuja.
The Minister for Petroleum was represented at the launch by the Secretary of the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha.
In the speech read on his behalf, the Minister said: “this International Petroleum Summit is significant for several reasons as it has the full backing of the government of Nigeria and it represents our contribution to the quest for sustainable platform for global industry players to come to Africa in the interest of the oil industry.
“Nigeria is open to private sector investments in the downstream sector and is pursuing vigorously the programme for the rehabilitation of existing refineries for us to enhance capacity to supply locally refined products to Nigeria and West Africa. This is a very key component of the national petroleum industry roadmap and the 2017 – 2020 Economic Recovery and Growth Plan”, the speech read.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Folasade Esan speaking of the Summit said: “it is designed to be Africa’s largest and most important industry platform and linkage to the world where engineering and technological breakthroughs will meet other developmental and economic diversification initiatives”, she stated.
On his own part, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, said the Summit was set up “not only to energise the oil sector but also to bring together our African brothers and sisters who are looking to us for leadership in this sector.”
On the state of the oil and gas sector in Africa, the minister said, “Clean energy focus is beginning to make almost irrelevant the vast reserves of crude oil that we have on ground unless we turn them into things that are clean.
“The challenge for oil companies operating here, the challenge for Nigerians in this sector can change. Historically, our business was to find the oil, sell it, put the foreign exchange in the hands of banks and move on. It’s got to be better than that now.
“Oil has got to provide work for our people, oil has got to provide the resource to power this country, oil has got to provide the operational environment that is transparent enough for others to take Nigeria serious, and oil has got to provide the technical and human skills.
“My target is that over the next 10 years, Nigeria will develop an FPSO, Nigeria will become self-sufficient in its own power provision and that over the same period, we will begin to mutate away from crude oil as it were to very refined clean provision of forces.
“My target is that over that same period, the investment in the sector will be such that Nigerian companies, entities and shareholders will begin to move from 10 per cent today to 40 to 50 percent of the real-time investments,” he said.
The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Maikanti Baru, said the event is: “long overdue.”
He expressed confidence in its potentials.
“I have full confidence that the discussions and interests alike will steer up strategies and actionable item that will transform into veritable road map for our industry and our future,” he said.