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Oil sector fast losing attraction, says SPE

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PHOTO: BLOOMBERG


*Shell ties industry’s future to gas

Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) has said Nigeria’s oil and gas sector is fast losing its relevance, given the realities of today’s marketplace.According to the body, an economy like Nigeria that depends largely on the sector was taking an uncalculated risk, as the end might be catastrophic.

It stressed the need to diversify oil-dependent economies like Nigeria “at this stage of our development and its imperative in securing our future.”Speaking at the 42nd Nigeria Annual International Conference and Exhibition (NAICE 2018) in Lagos, the chairman, SPE Nigeria Council, Chikezie Nwosu, said: “In the next half-century or less, the place of oil and gas in the global market may not be very much favourable for such an undiversified economy as ours.

“This is the right time (some say, we may already be running late) to effectively take advantage of the oil and gas industry to drive other sectors of the economy, such as gas, to power our gas-based industries, manufacturing, agro-allied, alternative and renewable energy, banking, ICT, public health, among others, to full maturity and self sustainability.”

The theme for this year’s conference is ‘Diversification of the Nigerian Economy: The Oil & Gas Industry as an Enabler. Nwosu noted that the energy sector remained pivotal in shaping economic development globally. This, he added, was especially so for Nigeria, whose bulk of export earnings is derived from crude oil.

“To remain competitive and relevant in the global economy, the position of the oil and gas industry as the bedrock of the Nigerian economy requires a paradigm shift from a consumer product to an enabler for diversifying the economy,” the SPE boss advised.

Meanwhile, after decades of difficulties in Nigeria over crude theft, pollution and oil-related corruption, Royal Dutch Shell Plc is still optimistic that fossil fuel can improve life in the country.

The Anglo-Dutch oil major wants to develop Nigeria’s domestic energy market around natural gas.According to the Managing Director of Shell Nigeria Gas, Ed Ubong, it is plentiful, harder to steal, better for the environment and can underpin a robust industrial sector that could potentially employ thousands,”

He believes that Shell has done the groundwork to set up a gas-based system, and that the organisation’s influence and large balance sheet can transform Nigeria’s population into a new market, according to a Bloomberg report.

“Imagine if you held maybe $100 million in the United States, would it convince you to set up a factory in Nigeria?” Ubong asked in an interview at Shell’s compound in Port Harcourt.“The first thought companies have is: Do I have power?” he concluded.


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