President Yar’Adua unveils New Vision for Oil & Gas Industry February 18, 2008
President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua on Monday, 18th February 2008, provided further insight into the Federal Government’s new comprehensive vision for the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry. President Yar’Adua who spoke at the opening of the 8th National Oil & Gas (NOG) Forum in Abuja said in addition to the recently announced National Oil and Gas Policy, the Federal Government was also working on a new Petroleum Industry Bill that would give the policy a legal backing.
According to him, the new National Oil & Gas Policy “seeks to confront, head-on, the faulty governance framework that has characterized the Nigerian oil and gas industry.” He said the Federal Government’s new vision for the country’s oil and gas industry was in response to the unique challenges faced by Nigeria as a top oil producer that is unable to meet the domestic demands for refined petroleum products as well as an “abysmal” power supply system.
Warning that it was time that the government and International Oil Companies (IOCs) told each other “a few home truths”, President Yar’Adua came down hard on the state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), saying the organization had derailed from the vision for which it was established. He blamed the “paucity of policy, regulatory, operational, fiscal and managerial framework that govern the country’s oil and gas industry,” for the NNPC’s loss of focus.
He said the NNPC had, over the years, played multiple roles that were, often times, conflicting, including those of “policy formulation, regulation, commercial operations and national assets management.” The president also challenged the IOCs to also invest in petroleum refining, saying a situation where Nigeria has to rely on imports to meet domestic demand for refined petroleum products was unacceptable. “The situation cannot and should not be allowed to continue any longer,” President Yar’Adua told the capacity audience at the prestigious International Conference Centre, Abuja.
The NOG 2008 opening ceremony had in attendance, the major stakeholders in the industry as well as key government functionaries including the three ministers of Energy, Mr. Odein Ajumogobia (Petroleum), Chief Emmanuel Odunsina (Gas), Mrs. Fatima Ibrahim (Power) as well as the Strategic Adviser to the President on Energy, Dr. Rilwan Lukman and the Group Managing Director (GMD), NNPC, Alhaji Abubakar Yar’Adua.
Also in attendance was the Country Chairman, Shell Nigeria, Mr. Basil Omiyi; the French Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Jean Michel Dumond; and the delegation from EPNL: the Executive Director, Strategy, Business & NOA, Mr. Charles Ngoka; the General Manager, Business Development, Mr. Chidi Momah; the Government Relations Manager, Mrs. Sonye Allanah; and the Abuja Administration Manager, Mr. Azu Azuike.