By Nnenna Ezeah
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, is intensifying efforts to encourage indigenous participation in the upstream sector of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry.
The company said that this was in effort to guarantee national security and to ensure that Nigeria derives more benefits from the exploration of the nation’s hydrocarbon resources.
This declaration was made by the Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mr. Austen Oniwon, during a 23-man delegation of Faculty staff and top ranking military officers of the National Defence University in Pakistan visit to his office.
Oniwon said it was in line with this commitment that two oil wells from which Shell Petroleum Development Company recently divested were ceded to indigenous companies to manage.
He said developments around the globe dictated that nations encourage indigenous capacity in their upstream sector as international political developments might cause foreign upstream players to abandon their post, leaving an unprepared nation in a lurch.
“NNPC was poised to enhance its participation in the upstream sector through its E&P company, the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, which target is to increase its production from its current 80,000 barrels per day to 250,000 per day in 2015”.
Oniwon stated he appreciated the technological challenges which the Corporation might encounter in its efforts to participation in the upstream sector, emphasizing however that the Corporation has plans to acquire the right technologies to achieve its target.
“Nigerians in Diaspora who possess expertise in the upstream would be hired to ensure that NPDC target is met”.
“In spite of the amnesty programme, security still remained a challenge in the sector, stating that criminal elements daily broke pipelines leading to losses being suffered by the Corporation and other players in the industry” he added.
According to Oniwon, NNPC was aligning fast into Mr. President’s Gas Revolution Agenda which by 2014 would have positioned Nigeria as the regional hub for gas-based industries of fertilizer, petrochemicals and methanol.
“The gas initiative would generate over 100, 000 engineering-related jobs, as well as about 500, 000 direct and indirect jobs in construction, logistics fabrication and agriculture”.
He further said the Corporation is collaborating with the nation’s security officials to ensure that oil pipelines become more secured adding that following the Federal Government’s amnesty programme, militancy in the Niger Delta has drastically reduced.