From Uche Usim, Abuja
Nigeria and the United States of America are planning fresh investments in newer technology to further grow the nation’s oil and gas potential.
This came as the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, on Tuesday met with the Secretary of Energy of the United States of America, Mr. Rick Perry, on the sidelines of the 24th Africa Oil Week currently holding in Cape Town, South Africa.
Speaking at the meeting, Perry commended Nigeria on the significant steps it has taken in the oil and gas industry, stressing that the key message and thrust of the United States administration was to be strategic partners with Nigeria. Perry pointed out that the United States government holds Nigeria in high esteem, even as he pledged to encourage US companies to invest in the nation’s oil sector.
The meeting, Perry added, comes as a follow up to a previous one hosted by the office of the Secretary of Energy earlier in May 2017 at the United States Departments of State and Energy in Washington D.C. on the sidelines of the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC).
In his remarks, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, said the Federal Government of Nigeria has clearly set out the choices that have to be made and steps to be taken in the next four years to grow the country’s oil and gas industry.
Part of it, he noted, was through the continuous implementation of the 7BigWins – the Nigerian Petroleum Roadmap; which focuses on stabilising the business environment, enshrining openness and transparency, and developing and entrenching new policies and regulations. These laudable achievements have contributed greatly to helping Nigeria claw back from recession.
Kachikwu however restated the positive role the government has played via the Joint Venture cash call payment agreement, ensuring adherence to due process in the sector, promoting accountability, encouraging sanctity of contracts and reviewing the fiscal policy to provide incentives for investment in the sector while optimising government revenues. He also hinted that plans were afoot to reduce government’s role in the sector in order to increase private sector participation.
On infrastructure, the Minister noted that a comprehensive and holistic infrastructural map, currently being developed by the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, would be launched in December 2017.
He highlighted the local content growth which the Nigeria oil and gas sector had experienced, revealing that it has moved from five per cent at the inception of the Buhari administration, to about 40 per cent local content compliance as at today.
Kachikwu also used the opportunity to invite the US Secretary of Energy and his team to participate in the forthcoming maiden edition of the Nigerian International Petroleum Summit (NIPS) scheduled to hold in February, 2018 in Abuja, Nigeria.