Oniwon calls for more investment in oil and gas sector
The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Engr. Austen Oniwon, has called on oil and gas industry stakeholders to work towards the expansion of the Nigerian economy by extending their investment frontiers to cover all aspects of the industry rather than looking to the developed economies in the west or east for opportunities.
Engr. Oniwon who gave this charge today while delivering a paper titled: “Integrating NNPC's Commitment to Nigeria's Development with Its Commercial Objectives”, at the Nigeria Oil and Gas Conference and Exhibition holding at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, stated that opportunities for massive investment expansion are abound in the country especially in the power sector.
Oniwon who x-rayed the trends in the international energy market explained that with the recent technological breakthrough in the use of shale gas in the United States which is the country's major market, there could be a lull in the demand for Nigeria's oil and gas.
“With this development, we should be looking elsewhere for opportunities. We could look to Europe in the West or Asia in the East. But rather than look to the West or the East, I think we should look inwards; we should develop the local market by tapping into the opportunities being provided by the federal government,” he said.
Explaining further, he said the federal government's plan to boost power generation from 4,000MW to 40,000MW presents ample opportunity for oil and gas producers within the country as about 80% of the projected 36,000MW increase will be produced from gas-fired thermal stations.
He said the NNPC, having met and surpassed the gas need of existing thermal power stations, is currently working towards building critical gas infrastructure such as the Calabar – Ajaokuta Pipeline and the Ajaokuta – Kaduna – Kano Pipeline.
The GMD explained that besides linking the power stations, the proposed gas pipelines would serve as backbone for gas supply to other gas-based industries like petrochemicals and fertilizer plants across the country.
To ensure that NNPC achieves its quest to transform from a cost centre to a commercially viable entity, Engr. Oniwon stated that the Corporation has already outlined a growth trajectory.
“We have put in place measures to ensure profitable growth for NPDC, create a refining profit centre, build the leading Nigerian petroleum retail business, build an international supply and trading business while focusing on our gas and power activities across the entire value chain,'' the NNPC GMD stated.
He stated that the Corporation has made extensive plans to drive performance management across the NNPC and called on stakeholders in the downstream sector not to see NNPC's strategic investment in the retail business as a ploy to drive them out of the business, arguing “that the terrain is big enough to accommodate all prospective investors”.