BY CHIKA OKEKE, Abuja
The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) has charged African Oil Marketers to explore alternative funding sources to overcome the challenges bedeviling the oil and gas industry in the continent.
This was even as the board harped on the need for the producers to come up with strategies that would enhance research and development within the continent.
Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Engr Simbi Wabote stated this in Abuja on Thursday at a roundtable conversation with 18- member countries of the African Petroleum Producers Organization (APPO) with the theme: “Enhancing Local Content Development and Deployment in African Oil and Gas Industry”.
The two-day annual roundtable organised by the NCDMB, was conceived and first hosted at the Nigerian Content Tower in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State in June 2021 and was subsequently institutionalised as an APPO project following the success of the inaugural edition.
Wabote encouraged the delegates to chart a pathway for the sustainable development of local content and the oil and gas industry in the continent given the threat of energy transition and dwindling funding of the hydrocarbon industry.
The ES enjoined marketers to take advantage of the existing opportunities such as the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) which has created 1.3 billion market for people.
He urged the participants to come up with suggestions on how to optimally leverage cross-border partnerships towards developing and implementing local content as well as overcoming the funding challenge for member countries.
Wabote noted that the APPO roundtable had assembled key players in the African oil and gas sector to address pertinent issues and explore solutions that would drive growth and development in the industry.
He pleaded with the participants to discuss how best to leverage the continent’s vast natural resources for the benefit of the citizens, and to lead the way into implementing local content within the African oil and gas industry.
Wabote noted that the development of regulatory framework, human capacity development, research & development; manufacturing, funding, and cross-border partnerships are pressing needs that required urgent attention.
He was excited that African local content roundtable had continued to play an important role in advancing local content development across Africa by formulating supportive policies, and strengthening the capabilities of local players across the oil and gas value chain.
The Secretary General of APPO, HE Omar Farouk Ibrahim informed that African oil producers must be allowed to use their hydrocarbon resources to exit poverty.
He maintained that energy is the biggest catalyst for the transformation of Africa and hydrocarbon resources must not be abandoned if Africa would achieve energy security.
Farouk identified funding, technological expertise, and access to the market as the major challenges that APPO is working assiduously to overcome in order to make the continent self-reliant.
“Essentially, Africa did not explore and produce oil and gas for Africans but for other regions, that is why despite the incomes that our countries have made from the resources, we are still dependent on foreign investments to do oil and gas business,” he said.
He highlighted APPO’s commitment to reversing the trend, pointing out that Africa must be allowed to use the available sources of energy to change the narrative and get to the level of the developed countries.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri observed that APPO’s collective duty revolved around the responsible management of the oil and gas sector, believing that collaboration would engender sustainability.
Lokpobiri added that: “The primary goal of this engagement is to enhance understanding of how to improve our future and the collaboration expected to yield significant economic benefits for our continent. The overarching objective is to achieve tangible growth and ensure energy security within our oil and gas industry.”
The minister requested that the insights and recommendations from the event should be collated to guide participating nations toward enhancing local content and driving socio-economic development.
BY CHIKA OKEKE, Abuja