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NOG 2012: Total, others seek better operating environment
...NNPC promises to shorten the contracting process
February 28, 2012

Chief executives of major oil companies, including Total's Managing Director/Chief Executive, Mr Guy Maurice, have canvassed for a stable environment in the Nigerian oil and gas industry, to enable it realize its potentials.

The chief executives articulated their view, Wednesday, February 23, 2012, at the 2012 edition of the Nigeria Oil and Gas Conference (NOG) as members of a panel discussion on the topic, "What is the future for Nigeria Exploration and Production?" The conference which began on Monday, February 20 ended on Thursday, February 23.

They canvassed their views as the country's national oil company, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), promised to reform the contracting process for it to be more investor-friendly. Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mr Austen Oniwon, was optimistic that the uncertainties surrounding the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) would soon be cleared and that the proposed law would encourage investments.

According to him,
  • The Nigerian government would invest $100 billion in the industry in the next five years
  • Business continuity cannot wait until a law is passed; the business will adapt itself to the law when it is passed
  • Renewal of oil licences would continue while awaiting the passage of the bill into law.
Measures being adopted to better manage the contracting process in the industry include:
  • Shortening of communication with partners to ensure that higher level interventions are taken as early as possible during the contracting process.
  • Reducing the number of days any document stays with NNPC.
  • Encourage more people to bid and tender through Nigerian Petrolerum Exchange (NIPEX) in order to reduce the time for the conclusion of a tendering process.
Speaking on the funding issue, and the contracting process, Mr Maurice averred that investors are keen on knowing what the future holds for their investment. He noted that in spite of the goodwill of investors, the last 20 years have witnessed a continuous decline in production efforts. For the country to reverse this untoward trend and feed new developments, he advised that it was important to resolve issues that impact on stability and increase the capacity of the country to renew its production infrastructure.

Similarly, the Chief Executive of ExxonMobil, Mr Mark Ward, urged the government to get the PIB properly anchored to allow for accelerated growth of the oil industry. According to Mr Ward, Nigeria's best hope for re-energizing growth and creating new jobs is to put in place a stable policy framework that supports long term investments. He added that oil and gas industry projects span decades, require huge investments and the utilization of cutting-edge technologies.

Members of the panel of Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) included Group Managing Director, NNPC, Mr Austen Oniwon; Total's Managing Director/Chief Executive, Mr Guy Maurice; Country Chair of Shell Companies in Nigeria and Managing Director, Shell Petroleum Development Company, Mr Mutiu Sunmonu; Vice Chairman/Managing Director, Nigerian Agip Oil Company Ltd, Mr Ciro Antonio Pagano; and the Chairman/Managing Director, ExxonMobil, Mr Mark Ward.

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