Uche Usim, Abuja
Driving down the production cost of oil production, attracting investors into the sector and sustaining the 7-Big Wins programmes of his predecessor are the major issues the new Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva is expected to address.
Interestingly, he assumed duties on Wednesday afternoon, shortly after he was assigned his portfolio by President Muhammadu Buhari; with a pledge to reposition and chart a way forward for the Nigerian petroleum sector.
While pledging to work with the experts at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the other departments and agencies under the Ministry to move the sector forward, industry watchers have asked him to walk the talk as there are so many issues bugging the sector.
Firstly, Sylva should take off from where his predecessor, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, left off with regards to planned efforts to reduce the cost of oil production from $23 per barrel, $15 per barrel.
This, he should do in collaboration
with the private sector to grow foreign direct investment.
Analysts say the excuses of the Nigerian environment being starved of needed infrastructure can no longer hold water, because there are a lot of countries with a peculiar situation as Nigeria’s that are producing oil at relatively lower levels.
Another area is the 7-Big Win blueprint of the industry launched by Kachikwu.
It covers aspects of Policy and Regulation, national oil policy, national gas policy, downstream policy, fiscal reform policy, petroleum industry reform bill, business environment and investment drive; Accelerated Income Streams, upstream, midstream, downstream; Gas Revolution, gas infrastructure development, gas revolution projects, promotion of domestic ultilisation of LPG and CNG, reduction of gas flaring, gas commercial framework implementation and gas to power.
The objective of the gas revolution agenda was to transform Nigeria from an oil-based economy to gas-based through the development of a robust gas infrastructure that would ensure improved power availability and drive the establishment of gas-based industries.
However, in a welcome ceremony for the new Minister in Abuja, Sylva stated that with the calibre of the workforce in the ministry, he was sure that the nation’s oil and gas sector would move to the next level.
Sylva, who is a former Governor of Bayelsa State brings on the job several years of cognate experience in the petroleum sector.
The new Minister of State contributed profoundly to the institution of the Amnesty programme in the Niger Delta region which, over time, has led to the restoration of peace in the oil-producing areas of Nigeria.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Dr. Folashade Yemi-Esan, reassured Chief Sylva of the readiness of all members of staff in the Ministry to support him to succeed in the onerous task of transforming the Nigerian oil and gas sector for the good of all stakeholders.