By Obas Esiedesa
Nigeria has pledged to support West African neigbour, Senegal, to develop and grow its oil and gas industry.
Senegal in 2014 discovered what is said to be the largest deep-water off-shore oil deposit in the world, with production expected to commence in 2023.
Nigeria’s Minister of State Petroleum Resources Chief Timipre Sylva who gave the pledge on Monday in Abuja when he received a Senegalese delegation led by Minister of Petroleum, Aissatou Sophie Gladima, noted that with Nigeria’s extensive experience in the petroleum industry, it was in the best position to assist African countries which have just discovered oil to grow the sector.
He disclosed that when oil exploration started in Nigeria jobs in the sector were exclusively for foreigners, explaining that with deliberate policy and effort, local content has grown to 43 percent with the government targeting 73 percent by 2027.
He said Nigeria was ready to share these experiences to ensure that mistakes made at the early state were not made by African countries.
According to him, “We as Africans have to work together in order to chart a way forward. We cannot continue to depend on Europe and the outside world.
“In fact it has been proven over and over again that they cannot be responsible for our development. We have to take full responsibility of our development. That’s why we are happy that you are here today”, he stated.
He observed that in the oil and gas sector “we definitely have some advantages as a country because we have been in this sector for a very long time. And a lot of lessons have been learnt, a lot of mistakes have been made”.
He noted that Nigeria have been in oil production for over 60 years which puts in the position to assist other countries in Africa.
He said: “When oil production started in Nigeria, Nigerians were completely spectators. We were not part of the production activities. Every position was occupied by expatriates and our communities were just on-lookers to their activities.
“But since then, a lot has happened and there has been a lot of capacity building in Nigeria and today we can tell you that a significant percentage of Nigeria’s crude is being produced by Nigerian companies and also the Nigerian involvement even in the international oil companies has increased significantly to the extent that some of the IOCs now have Nigerians as Managing Director in the Nigerian subsidiaries”, he stated.
He assured the Senegalese delegation that Nigeria would support them in the development and growth of the oil industry in Senegal
Speaking before the meeting entered into closed door session, Madame Gladima said the team was very happy to learn from Nigeria’s experience in the sector.
She explained that the delegation was particularly interested in learning about surveillance and security around oil and gas assets, national oil company, local content development, and national oil strategy.