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Nigeria to use Oil, Gas Income to Spur Economic Growth — Buhari

-By Fred Ojiegbe

Oil and gas revenue will continue to be the fulcrum for economic development of the country, President Muhammadu Buhari has stated.

The President stated this at the virtual inauguration of the National Oil and Gas Excellence Centre at the Department of Petroleum Resources headquarters, Lagos. He  said: ”You would recall that at the beginning of this administration, we set a clear roadmap for the oil and gas sector in order to increase value from the nation’s huge resource potentials and create opportunities for investors, both local and foreign when I declared that: ‘Nigeria is Open for Business!’

I am delighted that since then, we have witnessed major Final Investment Decisions in the sector. Our renewed drive for economic diversification using the oil and gas industry as a pivot remains on track as we expand government revenues and deploy it to grow our Gross Domestic Product, generate employment and contribute to eliminating poverty in Nigeria.

This National Oil and Gas Excellence Centre will serve as an integrated resource complex to drive safety, value and cost efficiency in the industry. It is therefore another milestone in the development of the oil and gas sector and the realisation of greater value for the country.” Explaining the importance of the Centre, the President stated that there are abundant opportunities to be derived therefrom.  According to him, “The establishment of the National Oil and Gas Excellence Centre aligns with our administration’s commitment to foster stability, growth and sustainability of the Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry consistent with the economic development and sustainability agenda articulated in the National Petroleum Policy 2017, National Gas Policy 2017, Economic Recovery and Growth Plan and the Economic Sustainability Plan, 2020.”

Speaking at the event, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva said that the Centre would engender the sustainable growth of Nigeria’s oil and gas industry. According to him, “NOGEC has been carefully designed to support the achievement of the ministerial priorities – significant amongst which are cost reduction, increase in production, and value maximization in the industry. The Centre, under the direct supervision of the Department  of Petroleum Resources (DPR), will leverage the existing capacity of  the National Data Repository (NDR) as the principal data warehouse of the industry to drive initiatives that will enhance Safety, Value and  Cost-efficiency across all operations in the Industry. “The establishment of the National Oil and Gas Excellence Centre is not only a response to a safer, cost-efficient and sustainable oil and gas industry, but also a strategic move to position Nigeria as a regional and  global leader in cost efficiency, breakthrough solutions and value-added services for the industry”

Giving a historical perspective of the project, the Director, DPR, Mr. Sarki Auwalu, said, “The journey to NOGEC began with the express mandate of Mr. President for the Industry to reduce cost, improve efficiency and create employment. Based on these directives and the ministerial delivery priorities, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) identified five (5) key initiatives that will help to achieve the intent of Mr. President’s mandate. It is pertinent to note that the entire oil and gas business is hinged on revenue and safety, which provide the basis for identifying the five (5) initiatives that form the pillars of NOGEC. “The National Oil and Gas Excellence Centre encompasses industry-focused programmes that will drive strategic mediation in operations, skills and competence development, use of Big Data, Internet of things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) for decision making, deployment of proven technology for secondary and tertiary oil recovery as well as a coordinated response for an emergency. Today, we have concluded the framework and implementation modalities for the successful take-off of these Programmes within the National Oil and Gas Excellence Centre due for imminent commissioning. We have no doubt that the Industry now has the resource and platform to interact, cooperate and collaborate on  salient industry issues that remain impediments to cost reduction,  safe operations and optimum value optimisation.”