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PMB urges oil exploration cost reduction to face renewable energy threats

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As the world forges ahead with energy transition to reduce dependence on fossil fuel, Nigeria’s President Mohammadu Buhari has called for a cost reduction strategy to make the exploration and production of crude oil more competitive and attractive to investors.

The president who was represented at the occasion by the minister of state for petroleum, Timipreye Sylva, made the call at the Nigeria International Petroleum Summit NIPS which opened at the State House Abuja on Monday saying that as part of efforts to withstand the pressure from the energy transition threats the oil and gas industry in sub-Saharan Africa must adopt new strategies and approach to remain relevant in years to come.

“The Oil and Gas sector needs to drive cost down before it becomes impossible to compete”, the President charged, urging for more discovery of new oil fields.

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He acknowledged that though the global agenda for energy transition had been forced to the back seat with governments trying to restart the global economy after the COVID-19 pandemic is real and getting cheaper.

He, however, stated that because of man’s insatiable needs for energy, fossil fuel would remain relevant and multi trillion-dollar industry in the coming decades.

He, therefore, advised industry operators to adopt a new strategy and approach to exploit existing opportunities in the oil and gas industry saying that the federal government had demonstrated unparalleled commitment to revamping the oil industry in Nigeria.

The president said; “Creating an environment for our hydrocarbon industry to thrive is no longer a choice but a priority” noting that the crisis in the industry today was exacerbated by demand disruption and supply glut caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

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In his remarks, senate president, Ahmed Lawan, stated that the National Assembly had collaborated with the executive arm of the government to remove the bottlenecks against the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) announcing that with conclusion of harmonisation by both houses of the National Assembly the bill would be passed before the end of June.

Announcing the full support of the National Assembly of efforts to actualise the dreams of the oil industry in Nigeria he stated that the NASS more than ever before was working in synergy with the executive arm of the government to make the oil sector more lucrative.

“As we speak, the joint committee of the both houses of the National Assembly are expected to conclude its report on the PIB in the coming days. So, the PIB will be passed within this month and the NASS has decided that the hydrocarbon we have in Nigeria must benefit Nigerians but we need a conducive business climate to attract investors within and outside the country.

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“The final product of the PIB will be a win-win for everyone. So, we must continue to ensure that there is calm; there is stability and security in the Niger Delta area where the oil is produced,” Senator Lawan said.

Speaking as the minister of state for petroleum, Sylva noted with gladness that the last edition of the summit which was its third was about the last of such physical event that held before the COVID-19 lockdown saying that it was gratifying that the fourth edition could still hold physically.

He said there was no doubt that the summit had achieved its mandate and, with the edition coming on the eve of the successful award of new marginal oil fields after unsuccessful attempts for the past 20 years.

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Sylva stated that even though he believed in global agenda for energy transition, he could not see that happening overnight, adding that Nigeria was on the track to moving its energy to renewable sources with providing the lead on that.

“For me, the approach is collaboration. There is no better time to shift the mindset but now, to achieve the new marginal fields. With joint efforts we can achieve our goal. Let us entrench the culture by working together because it is the surest way the industry can truly advance”, the minister stated.

Amaechi Okonkwo Port Harcourt

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