The local content sessions at African oil and gas conferences have grown tremendously in the last 15 years.
Now they envelope other sessions of the gabfests in their billowing robes.
What used to be very technically focused conversations around new technologies and innovations have been replaced with bully pulpit exhortations about what companies must do to build local capacity and support local businesses.
Out on the field, governments, even in nascent oil industries, are ringfencing sectors to be supplied only by indigenous enterprises.
From Ghana in the west to Kenya in the east. From landlocked Uganda to coastal Senegal, there is talk of “National Supplier Database”, a term that is curiously not as common in North Africa as it is in Sub-Saharan parts of the continent.
But in this quest for localisation, it is important to ask how the industrial economy has fared. Does having the locals run much of the upstream contracts and, as in the case of Nigeria, seek to take over the entire oil & gas production, translate to growing a vast, diversified, portfolio of refining, gas processing, petrochemicals, tools manufacturing, valve factories that collectively make the oil industry itself a champion of the industrial state?
Can the upstream hydrocarbon sector, as it moves to indigenous control, help create a nexus of industries that can lift more out of poverty than the small technical elite guaranteed by the age old system of simple crude production to export?
This question is at the heart of a two hour plus conversation our team had with Simbi Wabote, the forthright speaking Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board.
Read the interview here, right in the edition.
The Africa Oil+Gas Report is the primer of the hydrocarbon industry on the continent. It is the
market leader in local contextualizing of global developments and policy issues and is the go-to
medium for decision makers, whether they be international corporations or local entrepreneurs, technical enterprises or financing institutions. Published by the Festac News Press Limited since November 2001, AOGR is a monthly publication, delivered in e-copies to subscribers around the world. It is sometimes published in hard copies, for the purpose of distribution at conferences in which the AOGR is a media partner. Its website remains www.africaoilgasreport.com
and the contact email address is email@example.com. Contact telephone numbers in our West African regional headquarters in Lagos are +2348028354297, +2349091009800,+2348036525979 and +2347062420127
Another pertinent question is how well spread is the benefit of our local content policies. The government benefits, the contractors benefit, how about the engineers and personnels on the field who had better working conditions and packages under foreign firms?