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About $18bn is expended in the Nigerian oil and gas industry annually, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Deziani Alison-Madueke, said on Wednesday.

Speaking to industry stakeholders at the unveiling of the Nigerian Content Act, Alison-Madueke regretted that until recently when government decided to address the local content issues in the industry, over 90 per cent of the goods and services used in the industry was imported.

She said, 'Government continues to plough in enormous resources into the industry, unfortunately the impact on the well being of our people from oil industry activities is not at par with international benchmarks and well below the target of 70 per cent set by government.'

The minister explained that the passage of the Nigerian Content Act over 50 years after the commencement of the Nigerian oil and gas industry would transform the sector from an importer of goods and services into an industry, which sourced major inputs for its operation locally.

According to her, 'It is therefore a fair expectation that this Act will provide a relatively firm and streamlined implementation framework upon which new opportunities will be created for indigenous participation and local capacity building.

'That is the only way we can achieve government targets and boost industry contributions to national Gross Domestic Product growth.'

The minister noted that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation had made good progress using the domiciliation approach in ensuring alignments of the joint venture partners with Nigerian content in the absence of the any law.

She, however, stressed that there was a limit to what could be achieved with this strategy and that informed the need to have a law in place.

'With the Act now in place, operators and service companies providing services to Nigerian oil and gas industry will be required by law to perform designated scopes of work set out within the Act in Nigeria,' she said.

Meanwhile, the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria has signed a multi million dollar pipelines contract to increase gas supply to the country's power stations..

A statement signed by the Company's spokesman, Mr. Tony Okonedo, on Wednesday, stated that SPDC, a Joint Venture between Shell and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, signed a contract with Daewoo Nigeria Limited in Port Harcourt, on Tuesday, for the construction of 90 kilometres pipelines that will take gas from SPDC's operated fields at Utorogu, Adibawa and Agbada to the domestic gas network owned and operated by the Nigerian Gas Company.

The aggregate length of pipelines covered by the contract scope being 90 kilometres, according to Okonedo, will be completed in 20 months' time.

The Managing Director, SPDC, Mr. Mutiu Sunmonu, who spoke during the signing ceremony, was quoted as saying, 'This project is of high importance to us as a company and also to the nation. Electricity is key to national development, and we are pleased to increase our capacity to supply more gas to power stations, in addition to other efforts we are making. We are grateful to NNPC and other Joint venture partners for their support in these projects.'

The Managing Director, Daewoo Nigeria Limited, Mr. Ki-Pyo Hong, gave an assurance that the project will be implemented on time.