The Vice President of Nigeria, Yemi Osinbajo, on Thursday called for greater cooperation among oil-producing African countries.
Mr. Osinbajo made the call in his speech at the closing ceremony of the maiden edition of the Nigerian International Petroleum Summit in Abuja.
“It is clear that Africa must increasingly look within for solutions to resolve the challenges that impede the growth of industry or commerce and economic growth generally,” the official said. “In addition, the increasing number of African countries joining the league of oil and gas producing states calls for greater cooperation amongst the old and the new in the industry,” he added.
“The challenge for Africa is certainly enormous. Many of the traditional markets for oil in Europe and Asia of course developing alternatives. This is at the same time that this coincides with some African countries just making finds.
“The volatility of the whole market is another serious challenge. These are not challenges that can be addressed successfully, solely by countries taking independent decisions. Collaborations, synergies and knowledge sharing are critical. For us in Africa we have to work hard to make the best of our God given resources before it is too late,” he noted.
Mr. Osinbajo also spoke on the hurdles and responses in the sector as far as the African continent is concerned and what the summit sought to achieve.
“With the largest proven gas reserves in Africa, and the 7th largest in the world over 38 billion barrels of oil reserves and a daily production in excess of two billion barrels at the continent’s largest concentration of skilled man power for the oil and gas industry built over 30 years or more, naturally Nigeria’s experiences can be useful to other African countries. Together we can surmount our hurdles faster and even try to do so individually.
“I believe that the Nigerian International Petroleum Sumit therefore provides a good opportunity for the exchange among the large and small, the old and the new and the potential oil producing states in Africa,” he said.
He also said the summit and its side events have laid a solid foundation to encourage the growth of local content in the African Oil and Gas industry and has provided a forum on the display of the progress Africa is making in the field of oil and gas technology.
“It also provides African engineers and fabricators a platform to showcase what they are able to produce locally while providing for our academics and scientists, a forum to exchange thoughts on the way forward in the industry on the continent,” the Vice President said.
He further assured oil and gas operators of the federal government to create an enabling environment for the progress of the industry
“I should like to assure our oil and gas operators of the federal government of Nigeria’s commitment to creating the enabling environment for the industry to achieve its destiny in Africa
“As you are aware, in our determination to introduce legislation that could remove all encumbrances to efficient conduct of oil and gas businesses and learning from past experiences we split the omnibus Petroleum Industry Bill into a number of proposed legislations maybe three in all.
“Some of which have been approved already by the Executive Council for presentation to the National Assembly for their consideration and we believe that this will be done swiftly and already we are seeing signs that a lot of work has been done by the National Assembly,” Mr. Osinbajo explained.
He thanked the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Yemi Esan, the team at the ministry as well as all who participated in making the NIPS a worthwhile event as he closed the summit.