Uche Usim, Abuja
As the Federal Government marshals out several approaches to meeting its three million barrels of crude oil per day and 40 billion barrels crude oil reserves, the Group Managing Director of Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company Limited, Mr. Victor Okoronkwo has advised relevant agencies to focus strongly on establishing a safe and stable environment for stakeholders to operate in if that goal is to be achieved.
He also called for the establishment of a robust regulatory and fiscal framework that will be strictly adhered to.
Speaking at the first day of Nigerian International Petroleum Summit in Abuja, Okoronkwo pointed out the industry was in dire need of critical reforms of the petroleum industry that would boost investors’ confidence and attract vital foreign investments.
Okoronkwo bemoaned the declining inflow of foreign investment into the Nigerian economy, compared to its peers in West Africa.
According to him, while the Foreign Direct Investment to Africa rose 11 per cent to $46 billion, the FDI to Nigeria shrunk 43 per cent to $2 billion whilst Ghana received $3 billion, adding that this was in contrast to the vast hydrocarbon resource base Nigeria is blessed with, which is the largest oil and gas reserves in Africa.
Okoronkwo insisted that Nigeria was not isolated from the current wave of global energy transition, adding that over the years, energy transition had largely been driven by three key factors namely environmental, technological advancements and national policy realignments.
He said: “However, given the diverse applications of hydrocarbon and hydrocarbon derivatives in support of human civilization and industrialization, fossils will continue to play a dominant role in the global energy mix in the foreseeable future.
“Consequently, there is still a window of opportunity for Nigeria to realize its hydrocarbon objectives of three million barrels per day, MMbbl/d, production and 40 billion barrels of reserves by 2025.
“Rest assured, Aiteo E&P is poised and is working assiduously towards significant contribution to this goal. Overall, with the continued reliance and high demand for oil and gas, prices for these commodities will remain exposed to geopolitical events, climate considerations, and in this age of disruptions, black swan events like the September 2019 bombing of the Saudi oil facilities and the current coronavirus outbreak still poses challenges to the industry.”
In addition, he said, “the imperatives for success will therefore be predicated on amongst other factors, creating a stable operating environment as well as establishing robust regulatory and fiscal frameworks. Key energy industry reforms will be critical in boosting investor confidence and attracting otherwise elusive investments into Nigeria.
“To put our current reality into perspective, in 2018 while the Foreign Direct Investment to Africa rose 11% to $46 billion, the FDI to Nigeria shrunk 43% to $2 billion whilst Ghana received $3 billion (ref. world investment report 2019). This is in contrast to the vast hydrocarbon resource base Nigeria is blessed with (largest oil and gas reserves in Africa).
“As we deliberate across various sessions during this summit, it is my firm belief that we will ponder on these burning issues with a view to articulating holistic solutions, the bedrock upon which the survival of our great country is hinged upon.”