By Michael Eboh
THE Petroleum Technology Development Fund, PTDF, has lamented the absence and delay in the disbursement of funds to research projects in the oil and gas industry in Nigeria.
Speaking at the PTDF National Board of Trustees Meeting on Endowment, Manager, Strategic Planning, Research and Documentation of the PTDF, Mr. Olayinka Agboola, blamed the funding challenges facing the Board and the research programmes on the non-release of the PTDF operating allocations.
He also identified the new Federal Government policy on the Treasury Single Account, TSA, for the attendant delays in release of funds by the universities and institution to the endowed Chairs. He further explained that inadequate industry support for research products and programmes in-country are the bane of the research in the petroleum industry.
To address these, he said, “It is expected that PTDF Operational Fund Allocations will improve, which would enhance its capacity to adequately fund the endowment programme; the need to get industry support for the establishment of two standard research laboratories in-country to enhance quality research outcome. He also called for Inter-agency collaboration to reduce the financial burden on research programmes and also fast-track all processes on research commercialisation.
Also speaking, Executive Secretary of the PTDF, Mr. Bello Gusau, said the Fund was working with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC and the Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board, NCDMB to build facilities in key location to promote researches dedicated to the oil and gas industry from across the country. Speaking at the PTDF National Board of Trustees Meeting on Endowment, Executive Secretary of the PTDF, Mr. Bello Gusau, who stated that facilities would help domicile oil and gas researches in-country, also added that the absence of key research facilities, as well as lack of funding, had hindered effective study in the petroleum industry.
He said, “There is this complain we have been coming across since the life of the PTDF, which is that we cannot do research if we do not have the necessary facility to do that. The fact of the matter is that I have seen that in many of the instances that we listed. There are instances whereby people have to go to some other countries to access facilities. This should not be the case.
“One of the things I really want us to put on the table in the cause of this meeting is how do we take care of that problem? What do we do about that? We have had a few meetings in the last six months. We are trying to bring many industry players together.
“Presently, the NNPC Research and Development Department is on board; the Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board, NCDMB is on also. We want to work together to see how we can make facilities available for researches across the country, especially those researches that are dedicated to the oil and gas industry. I am hoping this meeting would kick-start that process.”
Gusau further stated that the plan for setting up the research facilities, beginning with about two or more, had been going on for some time now, among the PTDF, NNPC and NCDMB and had reached advanced stages. According to him, if the country had such facility in centralized location, researchers from across Nigeria would come and avail themselves of such facilities to conduct their research.