How oil sector can survive COVID-19 challenges — NNPC GMD


By Mike Eboh,

Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mallam Mele Kyari, yesterday, urged stakeholders in the petroleum industry to evolve innovative ways to reposition the sector for sustainability, especially in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Nigeria Energy Industry Transformation Summit (NEITS) 2020, Kyari stated that these innovations were necessary to move the petroleum industry forward in the face of the pandemic.

Kyari explained that the new normal brought about by the pandemic has, more than ever, reinforced the need to upskill the human capacity within the industry for the next phase, and develop the capacity to attract, train and retain people in the sector.

He spoke on the theme: ‘Changing Global Energy Landscape: Repositioning for Industry Sustainability’.

“There must be collaboration across different dimensions; government, industry, academia, and, particularly, with the communities where we carry out our operations. The social license to operate is critical to the Industry’s long term survival.

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“Also, partnership among Industry peers to chart new ways of resolving Industry challenges and preparing for tomorrow cannot be overemphasized. I am delighted the SPE provides such a veritable platform,” Kyari submitted.

He disclosed that for sustainability, industry players must learn to manage cost, improve efficiency and deliver required cashflow (margins) for reinvestment and expansion, stressing that without creating profit today, “we wouldn’t be in a position to take advantage of the opportunities that keep us viable and ready for tomorrow”.

Another key to reposition the Industry for sustainability, according to him, is for industry players to always act and take decisions with posterity in mind.

“We must bequeath to the next generation a world worthy to live in. Our operations must, therefore, be carried out in a safe manner without adversely impacting the environment. As you know, most discussions around energy substitution or green economy stem from looking at the Industry as ‘dirty’ and ‘unconscionable’.

“It must be reiterated that our Industry remains the bedrock of modern human existence. We must, therefore, work to create a positive view if we are to remain relevant in the long run,” he declared.

In his remarks, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, said the proposed Petroleum Industry Bill would ensure that the country’s abundant natural gas resource is used to promote national development.

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He added that in collaboration with stakeholders, the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, under his watch, would promote domestic utilization of gas resources so as to create job opportunities for Nigerians.

Delivering the keynote address, the President, SPE International, Shauna Noonan, clarified that the concept of energy transition was not to wipe out fossil fuel but rather an aspiration for cleaner energy.

She said the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), Nigeria Council, has a great role to play in reducing energy poverty, noting that energy transition was important for greater value in the global oil and gas industry.

Earlier in his welcome remark, the Chairman, SPE Nigeria Council, Mr. Joseph Nwakwue, said the society was ready to offer professional services and work with all stakeholders to move the industry forward.

He informed that part of the society was focused on capacity building to develop the required skill set for the oil and industry operations, stressing that it was what informed the choice of the theme of the conference.


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