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‘Nigeria’s oil, gas sector in last 10 years abysmal’

By Kingsley Jeremiah, Abuja
14 December 2022   |   4:04 am
Stakeholders in the oil and gas sector have said that the industry in Nigeria in the last decade remains the worst.

Stakeholders in the oil and gas sector have said that the industry in Nigeria in the last decade remains the worst.

Renowned Professor of Petroleum Economics and Policy Research, Wunmi Iledare said nearly every measure of industry performance has run against the sector in the last decade.

According to him, the number of rigs, technical cost, new leases, discoveries, proven reserves, production, insecurity, subsidy, employment, revenue access, and industry harmony have headed for the worst.

Iledare said it was a disaster that President Muhammadu Buhari held on to the petroleum ministry portfolio as the Minister.

“Certainly, the President can be commended for owning the Petroleum Industry Bill and pushing it across the finish line, but I hasten to say, it could have been a better PIA if there had been an authoritative Minister other than the President.

“However, in my over 40 years’ experience as a follower of the oil and gas industry in Nigeria, the last 10 years have been abysmal.

He warned anyone who emerges as the new President to have a transformational leadership mindset for the oil and gas industry and not be transactional, adding that the person must appoint a substantive minister.

“I will also advise him to appoint a professional special adviser on energy to facilitate a linkage between petroleum and power policy for sustainable development. Such an appointment must be apolitical. I also hope the new president comes to terms with insulating professional career development and growth in the public segment of the oil and gas sector governance from politics. This is what you have in the private segment of the sector. Professional career progression is majorly apolitical in the private sector,” he said.

Iledare warned against privatisation of NNPC, stressing that it is not doable or achievable with an executive order and it would be unwise and illegal.

Iledare advised the new president to rebrand, restructure and rekindle the Ministry of Petroleum to be at par with the Commission, the Authority and NNPCL in terms of manpower competence, institutional governance and structure.

Former President, Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), Joe Nwakwue said while the current administration has enabled the country to progress in areas like passage of the PIA and other vital industry legislations, there are retrogressions in lots of areas like output levels, production cost escalation, delayed implementation of the PIA, increase in subsidy payments and others.

“I hope President Buhari would be the last President that would also be Minister of Petroleum at the same time. It is no longer good for the industry. The job of the President is too critical and weighty to combine it with other responsibilities,” he said.

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