Sylva cautions against over-dependence on West for oil exploration, development
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, yesterday in Abuja, insisted that the continent must not continue to wait for Europe, the U.S., and other developed countries for the development of the region’s rich hydrocarbon resources.
As of 2017, Africa’s proven gas reserves Africa stood at about 487.7 tcf, while proven reserves of oil are in the region of 125 billion barrels.
While African governments are faced with persistent pressure to move into more sustainable energy options and avoid the environmental dangers that cloud fossil fuel, Sylva sees collaboration across the continent as a critical option.
Speaking yesterday during a visit by a team of energy experts from Senegal, led by the country’s Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Aissatou Sophie Gladima, Sylvia said Nigeria is looking at building a global energy company that would compete on an international level.
Currently, Nigerian oil servicing countries have established their foot in some African countries including Senegal, seeking to leverage years of experience in hydrocarbon development in the emerging market.
Sylvia told his guests and key head of agencies under the petroleum ministry that the country, since the discovery of oil, has drastically domesticated activities and currently plays key roles in the sector instead of relying on technocrats from developed countries.
“Nigeria’s involvement, even in International Oil Companies (IOCs), has increased significantly to the extent that some of the IOCs now have Nigerians, as their managing directors in the Nigerian subsidiary.
“We, as Africans, cannot continue to depend on Europe and the outside world. In fact, it has been proven over and over again that we can be responsible for our development. We have to take full responsibility for our development,” the former Bayelsa state governor said.
With many years of oil development, Sylvia said the experience of Nigeria would be useful to the West African.
He said the country has also done well in local content development, with contributions on its way to over 70 per cent in a few years.
“We are ready for this collaboration”, Sylvia told the Senegalese, saying that the sector in Nigeria has promising prospects that Senegal could leverage.
Senegal had made significant oil and gas discoveries. Britain and U.S. companies currently play key roles in the discoveries. With multibillion-dollar projects, which are currently hampered by the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, the country is looking to play key roles in the oil and gas sector on the global stage. There are indications of break-even by 2023.