Chief Timipre Sylva, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources
-By Olufunke Afolami
In his Ministerial Address at the 9th Annual Practical Nigerian Content (PNC) Forum organised by CWC Africa in partnership with the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCBMD) with the theme “Leveraging Local Expertise for Market Growth & Expansion,” the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva commended organisers of the event.
According to the Minister, PNC Forum has consistently provided a platform for policy shapers, captains of industry and major stakeholders across the entire oil and gas value chain to convene and discuss at the highest level and find solutions to important issues surrounding Nigerian Content implementation. It further provides opportunity to discuss keys to unlocking the industry’s potential through effective Nigerian Content development, deployment and implementation.
Sylva stated thus: “In its 9th Edition and the very first that I am headlining as the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, the Practical Nigerian Content Forum has consistently reached its foundational objectives and I want to sincerely commend the management and staff of NCDMB for making it such a high value event, where oil industry stakeholders gather annually to review the successes, opportunities and challenges of Local Content implementation in the Industry.”
The PNC Forum was the second public event to be held in the conference hall of NCDMB magnificent 17 storey building. The Minister pointed out that the building project had gotten to the level that it is as a result of the strong and purposeful management team, led by the Executive Secretary, Engr. Simbi Wabote. “I am proud to say we now have a world class conference centre right in the heart of the Niger Delta and I applaud NCDMB for this testament of an impressive performance record, Sylva added.”
As part of Local Content advancement, he applauded the exceptional work done by wholly indigenous construction company, Megastar Technical and Construction Company Limited, while appreciating President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Executive Council for gracious and timely approvals which helped to speed up completion of the project.
The Minister added that the building serves as a strong attestation of Buhari’s love and commitment to development of Niger Delta Region while looking forward to bringing him to commission the edifice.
Sylva tasked multinational oil companies and their indigenous counterparts to take a cue from NCDMB and engage more local contractors in various projects in the oil and gas industry. He noted that while the country supports and encourage patronage of local contractors, it must be emphasized that the local vendors have an obligation to deliver premium services and support Federal Government’s avowed strategy of using Local Content to drive down the cost of crude oil production, increase the contribution of the oil sector to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and guarantee the security of oil production. “We must not allow Local Content to become an excuse for cost over runs, slippages in project delivery schedule or shoddy jobs.”
As key stakeholders in the oil and gas industry, Sylva told operators to be aware that the entire country is looking up to the oil sector for increased revenue earnings to fund annual budgets and develop critical infrastructure. “For this reason, we must all be genuinely concerned that our cost per barrel of crude oil is one of the highest among OPEC countries. While we can easily reel out reasons for this anomaly, the reality is that this high cost of production often erodes our net revenue from crude oil sales and depletes the resources meant for development.”
The Minister told operators and stakeholders at PNC to take practical steps to ensure curtailment of various elements that contribute to high cost of production.
He explained that the Ministry of Petroleum Resources is proud of Nigerian Local Content achievements in the oil and gas sector adding that the Ministry is delighted at various capacities and capabilities that have been put in place since the enactment of the Nigerian Content law.
The country is also proud that these achievements are well recognized in the continent to the extent that some African countries like Kenya, Congo Brazzaville, Uganda, Gabon and Angola have come to Nigeria in the past for mentorship and peer assistance on Local Content practice and implementation. “As you might recall, this Administration had taken strategic steps to entrench Local Content implementation beyond oil and gas through the Presidential Executive Orders 03, 05 and others.”
The Local Content Committees of the Senate and House of Representatives are making efforts to extend the Nigerian Content Act to other key sectors of the economy. This is because of the benefits realised from the implementation of Nigerian Content requirements in the oil and gas industry.
The Minister highlighted key priority areas the Ministry of Petroleum Resources will be pursuing under his watch.
They include: the eradication of smuggling of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) across Nigerian borders; the completion of Gas Flare Commercialization Program; increase of crude oil production to 3 million barrels per day and reduction of the cost of crude oil production by at least 5 percent.
Other priorities include; the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), increase of domestic refining capacity and implementation of the amended Deep Offshore & Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract Act.
The key outcomes of these priority areas will be job creation and poverty reduction, which are cardinal aspirations of the Next Level agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari’s government.
He asked stakeholders for maximum support and cooperation to achieve these priorities and other plans that will be unfolded by the government.
The Minister reassured partners and stakeholders of commitment to promotion of a fair and robust business environment for the private sector participation and growth. He appreciated operators’ belief and duty for the Nigerian Content while recognising their steadfastness in the industry.