From Uche Usim, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has described the large hydrocarbon deposits in Nigeria as huge blessings that should be urgently harnessed, saying the country cannot turn its back on its many benefits.
The President spoke on deepening hydrocarbon usage on Monday at the opening ceremony of the fourth Nigeria International Petroleum Summit (NIPS 2021) in Abuja.
Represented at the event by Minister of State Petroleum Resources Mr Timipre Sylva, the President stressed that the fundamental outcome expected of the summit should be the strategies and new approaches of the future of the hydrocarbon in the country.
‘The outcome should also be on how to return on the attractive performance of the pre-pandemic era,’ Sylva said, speaking for the President.
‘We cannot turn our back on yet on more exploration. The Discovery of new fields is crucial and we need to address short term opportunities using technology that can extend the life of the fields.
‘Nobody should doubt our commitment to this because of our bold move by issuing new marginal field awards,’ he stated.
The President noted that the award guarantees the target of four million barrel per day production and the 40 trillion proven target.
President Buhari noted that the theme of NIPS 2021, “From Crises to Opportunities”, was apt considering that the world is focusing on energy transition.
He said Nigeria has also joined the train, hence the urgent need to explore the rich alternative energy sources in Nigeria.
‘Governments across the world are now more focused on tracking the crises caused by COVID-19 to economies than the press for energy transition but however, energy transition is real and renewable energy is cheaper.
‘Investors are conscious of environmental issues and are turning their back on hydrocarbon investments but history has shown that human beings have an insatiable need of energy which renewables does not have the capacity to provide in the future.
‘Expert projects that 80 per cent of world energy needs by 2040 will come from hydrocarbon,’ he said.
He added that fossil fuel will continue to be a source of petrol chemical and would remain a multi-trillion business in coming decades.
‘So, for us as a country with vast hydrocarbon potential the situation is an opportunity and how we can utilise it is a matter of strategy,’ he added.
Buhari further explained that developing the strategy was the core focus of the current administration in instituting NIPS in 2016.
In his own remarks as the Minister of State Petroleum Resources, Sylva explained that the physical hosting of NIPS 2021 was an indication of the government’s commitment to developing the petroleum sector.
He added that though COVID-19 negatively impacted the oil sector, Nigeria had remained focused on its drive to bring investments in the sector.
He added that Nigeria remained focused on moving its economy to a gas economy and be relevant in the global industrialisation drive.
He said that the new focus to drive the sector was a strong collaboration among industry players.
‘With increase price volatility and increased pressure on cost reduction, our industry needs to reinvent itself so that it utilises the dividends and set its self on track for industrialisation and prosperity.
‘That is why we need to focus on new strategies. for me, the new approach is collaboration, that is the paradigm shift we need to focus on.
In his remarks, the President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan, noted that the legislator has a major role to play to ensure an effective and efficient oil and gas sector.
He assured of the 9th National Assembly’s support, especially in passing the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB)
‘We will give Nigeria a fair act, we will listen to everyone, we have a cooperative approach, so we are working with all the stakeholders to get things done right.
‘We have been able to achieve consultation on PIB and we are working with the joint committee hopefully the bill will be passed in June,’ he said
‘We are conscious of the fact that we must give Nigeria a legal framework that would help to guide effective utilisation of the huge deposit of hydrocarbon for growth,’ he said.
Also speaking, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, noted that Nigeria needs to key into the global energy transition agenda because of the infinite nature of crude oil.