It was a delightful moment for the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), Nigeria Council during its Nigeria Annual International Conference and Exhibition (NAICE 2018).
Speaking at the opening ceremony, SPE Nigeria Council Chair, Chikezie Nwosu, disclosed that the petroleum association has become a major meeting of the petroleum industry for years. He said the event has grown tremendously. He revealed that the 2018 edition started with short courses and this is what SPE do as an organization to ensure that it continues educating talented young professionals who have chosen the field of Petroleum Engineering. The course was well attended with over one hundred participants attending short courses on Strategic Relation on Reservoir Management including Petroleum Economics. The initiative is led by captains of industries and the academia, which enhances the delivery of excellent knowledge to young professionals.
Nwosu stated further that every year NAICE selects a theme that is significant which will be deliberated by seasoned professionals in the industry and take actions by ensuring that policies are implemented from projected ideas. This year’s event was tagged “Diversification of Nigerian Economy- the Oil and Gas Industry as an Enabler.” He emphasized that it is quite clear that these discussions have been ongoing for a long time about how Nigeria can leverage on its God given resources which is oil and gas to diversify the Nigerian economy.
He made it known that oil is treated as a commodity to be used, sold and to earn foreign exchange. Surprisingly gas plays a second fiddle in the energy chain but it is a challenge because the volume of gas resources in the country is about 180 trillion cubic feet (tcf). There is also an estimation that Nigeria has about 600 tcf of prospective gas resources and it has been proven by stakeholders in the oil industry that “Nigeria is a giant of gas in Africa and gas is the leverage for diversification.” Every other aspect in the value chain can be given attention but the key enabler to diversify the economy include huge gas resources that the country has.
According to Engr. Nwosu, several statements have been attributed on the issue of gas by the Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru, where there is a lot of focus on ensuring that the country delivers its Gas Master Plan. The National Gas Policy takes a look at upstream, midstream and downstream. He added that “With the entire value chain of gas working in our favour, we will turn around not just economy of Africa, and that of Nigeria but economy of the sub-Saharan Africa region, and Africa as a whole.”
There are countries in Africa that depend on Nigeria to succeed in the monetization and commercialization of gas for the country to grow as an African economy. These countries include: Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Cote d’ Ivoire and others. Therefore, it is imperative that the country does not delay or linger in terms of ensuring that it can deliver the right gas plan to diversify the economy. “Now is the time and we cannot wait any longer because if we sit down on these resources for too long, other energy alternatives will replace them and therefore we cannot get the full benefit of these resources,” Nwosu added. He enjoined stakeholders to remember what happened to Europe energy, the country should be prepared to utilize its resources to avoid unpalatable consequences that might befall it due to lack of preparedness. The SPE boss said the urgency cannot be overemphasized as the warning gets near. This is why SPE Nigeria has decided that the theme of 2018 NAICE edition will revolve around diversification.
The event had two panel sessions. An aspect dealt with policy with regards to the industry while the other emphasized on oil and gas supply value chain which was attended by captain of industries, operators and professionals in the oil sector including policy makers. There was communique to assist in advocating for right prices, business environment to deliver on the diversification of the economy through oil and gas as enablers.
Engr. Nwosu was of the view that funding should be enhanced through collaborative structure and there are some success stories between the government, international, indigenous and service companies. He disclosed that Schlumberger has played a key role in certain projects in terms of funding. Financial institutions have also funded high profile projects in the oil and gas industry.
Topical issues were addressed by NNPC GMD, Dr. Baru which dealt with alternative funding mechanism that is of interest to indigenous and International Oil and Gas companies.