By Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu
“If you did this much, I have enough confidence in you to give you more responsibility”
It is very unique when a single individual along with his team puts up something as edifying as this. I’ve known Austin as the Managing Director of Seplat Petroleum then I saw him with Platform Petroleum, I was a bit confused. Now he goes by the tag name Advisor, a usual synonym for disguising heavy shareholders in oil parlance. I’m glad he’s giving back in a very big way and I urge everybody who’s an alumnus in every university in the country to follow suit.
It is significant in terms of what message he’s sending which is that Nigerian graduands study with the best tools in the best environment and produce the best results. “I congratulate Platform Petroleum and if you did this much, I have enough confidence in you to give you more responsibility and I’m going to work towards that”. I’m impressed with you and what you did and I’m impressed by the fact that you were one of the first to take advantage of the Marginal Field Allocation. I’m going to do what I can to ensure there’re more marginal field allocations to people like you.
In Houston I announced the Project 100, the whole idea is to identify 100 Nigerians who have the impetus, resources and skill set to be able take oil industry forward and do the very quick things. We’re beginning to search for those Nigerians and clearly you’re one of the people we’re looking for. Nigerians have shown they can do it. I’m looking forward to be able to announce soon what terminal date we’ll have for the production of FPSOs in Nigeria, such big type projects.
This morning at the Federal Executive Council, under the guidance of the Acting President, we approved the new Gas Policy for 2017 which is now official and we’re in the thresholds of approving a new Petroleum Policy and working very hard with National Assembly to finalize the PIB. The terrain today is now different, oil is no longer the commodity that we can take for granted in terms of pricing. Pricing has tumbled down to about a quarter of what it used to be, production has pummelled and no matter how much we try to fight as OPEC, we continue to suffer the pangs of price uncertainties and continual decline. Every country worth its salt is looking inward, in terms of investors.
It’s amazing how much Nigerian investors exist when you see the amount of fields bought up from the majors by Nigerians, you’ll realize we actually neglect our capacity. One of the things I’m committed to do under the Project 100 Theory is to create the right incentives for Nigerians to invest in their own country. Different from those investments, there’re certain very bold steps we must take.
Refining for example we’ve been having all these debates, but the reality is if we can’t refine our petroleum products in this country, it’s a major shame. And whatever it takes, I seek all your support in all of these, we must achieve those 2019 goal post. In terms of financing, we have changed the dynamics of the funding mechanism that allows the majors to move forward. We need to transmit some of those advantages to domestic producers and I’m hoping that in the next one month, the process will be completed and we’ll give you some advantages that we give the majors.
There’re lots of things to be done, we’re moving from oil to gas. Gas is a new equation but more importantly, we’re moving to aphilosophical base of not just producing oil and shipping out crude rather having to process as much of that into this country. Hopefully soon, we’ll be able to provide to our Nigerian populace, our work is cut out for us, there’s a huge amount of work out there. When we see this sort of effort that Austin has done together with the state, it is time to knock doors, it is time to say you must take coverage of this and begin to move forward it encourages all of us to move forward.
Speech delivered by Mr. Kachikwu, Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum Resources on the occasion of his opening of a $0.6MillionGeoscience Teaching and Research Complex at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.