May 25, 2024

‘Nigeria will curb its emissions, not its ambitions’ – Verheijen, Komolafe inform investors at AOW 2023


 Oredola Adeola 


The Nigerian Government has informed investors and stakeholders in the petroleum industry that Nigeria is open for business in the sector and would not compromise on its development ambitions which centered around oil and gas investment.


Ms. Olu Verheijen, Special Advisor to President Tinubu on Energy, made this known at the just concluded African Oil Week (AOW) Africa’s leading upstream event held between October 9 and 13, 2023, in Cape Town, South Africa


She stated that the rapid reforms under President Tinubu are centered around oil and gas as a main driver of economic opportunity in the coming years.


Verheijen said, “Although Nigeria’s oil and gas sector contributes less than 10 percent to GDP, it accounts for 90 percent of foreign exchange earnings, and 60 percent of fiscal income,


“The value of our currency, the government’s ability to invest in goods and services that market like public health and education are all dependent on what happens in the oil and gas sector.


“Our dependence on this sector has had a consequential impact on both our economic growth and poverty reduction aspirations,” she said.


She further hinted that the central priority of President Bola Tinubu’s administration is “to harness all Nigeria’s natural resources to transform the country into a thriving, productive and diversified economy.


The Special Advisor to President Tinubu on Energy therefore called for significant investment in the country’s hydrocarbon industry,


She emphasised that Nigeria requires significant investment in the petroleum industry and is focused on growing oil and gas production.


Engr. Gbenga Komolafe, Chief Executive, Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) in his comment at the AOW said that Nigeria is open and has made a courageous decision to deregulate the gas industry with the Petroleum Industry Act, 2021.


According to him, the Government is trying to stabilise its gas industry, and this will impact the stability of the Nigerian economy. Komolafe further stated that Nigeria is a preferred destination for investment for a number of reasons.


The most prominent reason is that the country has a stable government and that this executive branch has created policies that are driven toward attracting investment.


He emphasised that Nigeria’s sheer amount of natural gas is enough to be a formidable driver of foreign investment.


Adegbite Falade, Managing Director, Aradel Holdings, during one of the panel sessions, stated that Nigeria is looking to add more import substitution policies in Nigeria’s gas sector.


“Nigeria has a number of import substitution policies already that “aim to increase local production through subsidies, tariffs, quotas, and other barriers to trade.


“Among these measures is a directive which stipulates that preference be granted to domestic manufacturers, contractors, and service providers in all government procurements,” he said.


Falade noted that Nigeria also focused on fostering network access and sharing of infrastructure to make the petroleum industry in the country more profitable.


Some of the deals offered by the Nigerian delegates at the AOW include gas monetization, industrial park development, refinery expansion, and farm-in opportunities across onshore and shallow-water areas.