MINISTER OF PETROLEUM RESOURCES
Nigeria 2015 I Energy I Leader
BIOGRAPHY She was the first female President of OPEC, elected at the 166th OPEC Ordinary meeting in Vienna on 27 November 2014. She was born in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria. She studied architecture in England and then at Howard University in the United States. She returned to Nigeria and joined Shell Petroleum Development Corporation to become its first appointed her its first female Executive Director in Nigeria.
GOVERNMENT’S PLAN IS TO BUILD THE ECONOMY THROUGH GAS RELATED PROJECTS, SUCH AS FERTILIZER AND FOOD PROCESSING PLANTS.
How do you expect to bring further investments to the country with the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB)?
Nigeria is ranked first in Oil Production in Africa and sixth in the World, with an estimated reserve of over 36 billion barrels of oil and 186 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. To set the right atmosphere for investors especially in the gas sector, the country developed a gas infrastructure blueprint and is being implemented with over 60% completion level on the expansion plan for the Escravos-Lagos Pipeline System (ELPS), the commencement of the vital East/ West pipeline link and the South-North pipeline system. This aggressive infrastructure development will widen access to both supply and local/international gas markets.
Similarly, the Petroleum Industry Bill as a regulatory framework is expected to attract and guide investors through ensuring transparency and recognition of competencies in the awards of all projects/contracts in the oil and gas sector. The Bill will also address key investor concerns as it relates to return of investments, transparency of processes, safety and consistency of policies. Prospective investors especially in the gas sector can therefore venture into contracts with highly structured and clear cut policies in place to guide and protect their investments.
What is the Government’s gas strategy?
Government’s plan is to build the economy through gas related projects, such as fertilizer and food processing plants. An example of such projects is the construction of Ogidigbe Industrial park, which is being positioned to be the biggest gas industrial park in Africa housing a 2.6MTPA (Metric Tons Per Annum) fertilizer plant and a 1.3MTPA petrochemical plant among others. With high demand for electricity in Africa and the current Power Sector reform in Nigeria, it is projected that more gas power plants will be built in the country to provide sufficient power to both Nigeria and its neighboring Countries. The zero gas flaring effort, which the Petroleum Industry Bill will help to propagate, will also ensure proper utilization of gas.
The Nigerian Gas Master plan, which is a solid agenda for gas infrastructure expansion, will bring about development in both domestic and international gas market. The Federal Government of Nigeria has in addition invested in projects that strengthens the supply of gas to the rest of Africa and the world, example are the West African Gas pipeline, the Trans Saharan Gas pipeline and the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) projects.
In your opinion, what are the competitive advantages of nigeria compared to other oil producing countries in Africa today?
Nigeria’s coastline, which is 853km of Gulf of Guinea, has made the Country a major player in the deepwater exploration and exploitation and has attracted huge investment from major Companies like Shell, ExxonMobil, Total and Chevron. Deepwater drilling is attractive and production from these fields is expected to expand. The shorelines also serve as export terminals for oil and gas products. Also, Nigeria’s crude known as Bonny light, is in high demand in the international oil market due to its ease of processing (as a result of having very low sulphur content) as compared to other crude classifications of other African Countries producing oil.
How can foreign investors work with the Government to further develop local content?
The Nigerian Local Content Sector is in a transforming stage and as such more knowledge is still needed to bring it to a desired level. The Local Content Act re-quires that Jobs within the capabilities of Nigerians should be awarded to the Citizens. Foreign investors are encouraged to partner with Nigerians in areas which Nigerians do not have expert knowledge. This partnership could be in the form of training, establishment of construction or assembly units, export and import of resources required for development, and Joint project. The underlining word here is partnership, since it will have mutual benefit to the parties involve.
What would be your greatest achievements as head of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources?
The period under which the Ministry was under my supervision has also witnessed sustained interaction with the National Assembly to ensure passage into law, an oil reform legislation that will stand the test of time to the benefit of Nigeria, and give fair Return on Investment; and Regulatory Control and Monitoring efforts have been made to ensure effective regulatory compliance in the Nigerian Oil and Gas industry.There has generally been increased investor confidence in the Gas Revolution with additional gas utilization projects being pursued and products supply has been sustained nationwide through a combination of offshore processing, SWAP arrangements and increased domestic refining. Gas supply for power generation and industrial use is also expected to increase tremendously with the completion of the on-going project on the Calabar-Umuahia-Ajaokuta gas pipeline system, the PHCN Delta IV gas pipeline and the Obi-Oben pipeline.
Renewed efforts at ensuring relevant Gas Supply Purchase Agreements are being executed in order to encourage upstream gas development. Contracts for the critical pipeline infrastructure for gas supply to Alaoji, Olorunsongo have been awarded with projects’ completion in 2013 and approval has also been given to change the contracting strategy for OB3 gas pipeline, in order to expedite project execution.We have also been able to maintain crude oil production above the OPEC assigned production quota of 2.3 million bbl/d and increase the tempo of oil exploration activities in the Inland Sedimentary Basins especially by the Frontier Exploration S.ervices section of the NNPC. A major enhancement of deepwater oil production was achieved as a result of the arrival of FPSOs’ into Nigerian waters.