President Muhammadu Buhari says rising crude oil prices present a great opportunity for Nigeria, especially with the passage of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Buhari said this on Monday in Abuja, while declaring open the 5th Nigeria International Energy Summit (NIES).
The summit has as its theme: “Revitalising the Industry: “Future Fuels and Energy Transition.”
Global crude oil prices went up to $104 per barrel on Monday following the ongoing hostilities between Russia and Ukraine.
Represented by Chief Timipre Sylva, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, the president noted that the summit had been of great value in terms of policy input for government and business development resource for the private sector.
He said: “Crude oil prices are on the rise again after turning negative in April 2020. It is a great opportunity for us as a country.
“With the PIA in place, there should be no excuses. The enabling investment environment which has been the bane of the industry has been taken care of by provisions in the PIA.
“There is now a level of certainty for the regulatory, administrative and fiscal framework and the legitimate grievances of host communities most impacted by activities of the industry have been addressed by the Act.”
Buhari said to demonstrate the government’s seriousness; the administration did not waste time with the implementation of PIA.
“We moved quickly and scrapped the existing agencies and replaced them with new ones. We have inaugurated their new Chief Executives too.
“We also ensured the incorporation of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) under the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA).
“The NNPCL is a limited liability company now and our target is to make it the biggest, the most capitalised and the most profitable company in the whole of Africa,” he said.
The president further told the summit that Nigeria had adopted gas as its transition fuel as the world moves towards cleaner sources of energy.
He said this informed the administration’s Decade of Gas Initiative, which aims to transform Nigeria into a gas-based industrialised nation through enhanced and accelerated gas revolution.
Buhari said: “We will ensure further optimal exploitation and utilisation of the country’s vast natural gas resources.
“Given the country’s potential of about 600 trillion cubic feet, natural gas has the enormous potential to diversify and grow Nigeria’s economy.
“We are fully aware that energy transition raises the bar in terms of environmental, social and governance demands.
“We do not have to panic. We are already building blocks and bricks that will ensure seamless energy transition as the country joins in the race for net zero carbon emission.”
The president said Nigeria was prepared to face the global demand for cleaner energy sources with the enactment of PIA, successful completion of the 2020 marginal oilfields bid round and the decade of gas initiative.
“We are waiting to deliberate on the strategy paper from this summit and incorporate critical parts of it into government’s policies where necessary,” he said.
Global energy leaders are discussing the way forward and strategies for management of Africa’s huge energy resources at the summit.
The summit, which opened on Monday, will end on March 3.