The Nigerian ministry of petroleum has concluded plans to add to the teeming market of oil and gas conferences in the country.
It has even picked a date which puts it in competition with one of the newest of such conferences and a venue that indicates a challenge to one of the oldest such shows.
The Nigeria International Petroleum Summit (NIPS), tagged the “First Federal Government of Nigeria’s official oil and gas industry trade show”will be held in Abuja in February 2018.
This trade show will happen in Abuja in the same month that the West Africa International Petroleum Conference (WAIPEC), has been scheduled to hold in Lagos. NIPS will be inaugurated in the same month as WAIPEC’s second annual outing.
It will take place at the International Conference Centre, the same venue that the Nigerian Oil and Gas Conference (NOG) has held court for most of its 18 years. NOG is also scheduled to run in February 2018!!
The question is: Is a government conference so necessary to crowd out the space for private initiatives?
There is an answer in the press release.
The organisers advertise what seems like targeting the continent: “This event will undoubtedly be the Africa’s largest and most important industry platform and linkage to the world where engineering and technological breakthroughs, bid rounds, bid sign-off, major contract signing and sites conferences would meet other developmental and economic diversification initiatives of the country”.
Indeed, Yemi Osinbajo, the Nigerian Vice President,“unveiled the official launch of Nigeria International Petroleum Summit 2018 in the presence of 19 African Ministers of Petroleum and delegates who attended the African Petroleum Producers Organisation (APPO) meeting in Abuja, Nigeria recently”, notes the release.
But then the same statement, two paragraphs later, pulls back the curtain and limits itself to Nigeria: The NIPS, it says “will be held annually as a platform to highlight Nigeria’s long history of oil and gas production, substantial reserves and status as a leading global player in the sector”.
Which is what NOG does, What WAIPEC did this year, What the various panels of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) do, and what the annual conference of the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationsists (NAPE) does.
Indeed, there have been concerns that the SPE and NAPE conferences, organised by associations of technical personnel, have been focusing much more on the business and politics of hydrocarbon exploration and extraction, than on the technical programme that is their core remit.
They all want “key Nigerian political decision makers, government officials and industry’s specialists from the National Oil Company(NOC) and other relevant government bodies on the one part and Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of National and international oil companies, multinationals and multilateral organizations, the academia and other relevant stakeholders et cetera”, as the NIPS statement says.
They all cite Nigeria’s petroleum industry as “the largest in Africa with proven Oil and Gas reserves of 37 billion barrels (bbl) and 192 trillion cubic feet respectively. The sector contributes about 10% to the country’s Gross Domestic Product and accounts for 95% of all exports”, as the NIPS press release notes.
Then again, “given that Nigeria’s Gas reserves have remained largely untapped, the country is expected to make a shift towards becoming a major producer and exporter of Gas which the summit provide with an excellent business environment to interact, cross-pollinate ideas and to make deals happen”.
Ha. What the country needs are subject specific conferences, even in the hydrocarbon sector. That way, you deepen the search for solutions to specific areas and participants not only network, but go away from summits with information they can translate immediately to business success.