By Edith Ike-Eboh
President Muhammadu Buhari has called on African leaders to support whatever will help drive infrastructure development in the oil and gas sector in the region.
Buhari gave the advice at the opening ceremony of the second edition of the Nigerian International Petroleum Summit (NIPS) in Abuja on Monday.
The Theme of the summit was “ Shaping the Future through Efficiency and Innovation.’’
The President, represented by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, said that infrastructure development in the sector would help to boost various economies in the continent.
“The theme of this particular conference is one, Africa, two collaboration, three futuristic. The sheer fact of collaboration in Africa is something that should be of concern for African leaders. .
“In the last three days, delegation from African countries, represented by some of their minister here, were here to attend African Petroleum Producers Organisation (APPO) exra-ordinary meeting.
“That meeting was dedicated to finalising the prototypes of reforms we want to bring into APPO.
According to him, the meeting came up with the idea of expanding the role of the financial body – “African Energy Investment Corporation”.
President Buhari said that the idea was to mobilise about two billion dollars to begin to fund all the essentials that were necessary for proper collaboration in Africa.
He said that it was unfortunate that most African countries were operating in silos in building pipelines and gas plants, among others.
“If we are able to extend the hands of infrastructural development in Africa, build pipelines, joint plants, refineries and begin to protect African market, we would have taken a huge step not only for Africa, but stabilisation of independence of African countries,’’ he said
He said that APPO had signed a resolution on major projects and would soon commence implementation.
The president said that Africa had no option than to focus on what needed to be done to secure the future of the region.
He said that Africa was still faced with the challenge of Shale, oil pricing, investment limitation and so many others.
“When you look at the opportunity side, so much are going on like Egina project by Total Nigeria, Shell is getting ready for Bonga, Agip is working right now with Zabazaba, that is all in Nigeria.
“But all over Africa, discoveries are abound and suddenly, we find out that opportunities are coming with huge challenges, challenges relating to production.
“You cannot produce oil like before, people have to check the environmental impact of what they do, host community challenges are not just becoming just vociferous, but militant in nature,’’ he said
He said the means of getting finances were also getting tighter, adding that most emerging economies finding oil were also faced with huge challenges.
Buhari said that unless polices, market place, collaborative mechanism and infrastructure, the continent would continue to be faced with huge challenges.
He said that independent producers were contributing 12 per cent of the nation’s production, but needed to be improved to 30 per cent.
“We need to create models that would encourage them to invest their money, seek resources and refinances,’’ he said
The President said that there was the need to harness human capabilities in the country for the benefit of the continent.
Dr Maikanti Baru, the Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), said that summit was a veritable platform to discuss African challenges,
“This is a good platform to share ideas that will help African economies and move the continent forward,’’ he said
According to him, issues on infrastructure, transparency and regulatory framework remain the focus in the drive for collaboration in the region.
He said that Nigeria and Morroco had signed an MOU on gas pipeline which would connect about 15 countries and even serve gas demand of the Europe.
“ The feasibility study has been concluded, the pre-Final Investment Destination (FID) is ongoing. When concluded, it will help to boost industrialisation which will take Africa to the next level.
“Africa needs to collaborate and trade with each other, he said.
Baru urged participants to actively participate for greater result that would bring about growth and development in the oil and gas sector and the continent at large. (NAN)