•Regulatory framework, funding, reaserch hindering growth — NCDBM

By Ediri Ejoh

Stakeholders in the global oil and gas industry, yesterday, called for increased collaboration among African countries in order to boost investment in the continent.

This was the collective position of panellists, including Emmanuel Mugarura, Chief Executive Officer, Association of Uganda Oil and Gas Service Providers and Ranti Omole, Vice Chairman, Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria, PETAN, while discussing the way forward for the continent, at the ongoing Offshore Technology Conference, OTC, in Houston, Texas.

Similarly, Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, NCDMB, Simbi Wabote, also stressed the urgent need to formalize policies that would drive the exploitation of business opportunities in Africa.

He said: “Regulatory framework, gap analysis, capacity building, funding and incentives, research and development as well as market access are the key component for the growth of businesses across Africa.

“The practice of local content in the oil and gas industry and indeed any sector entail the development of the six key frameworks. An enabling regulatory framework backed by the appropriate legislature is very fundamental to local content development and practice. A law and decree depending on the political arrangement of a country set the framework and boundaries for all local content practitioners.

“While the law may not be all-encompassing, consideration should be given to other key sectors of the economy rather than just the oil and gas.”

He noted that gap analysis is needed to determine gaps that should be closed in the areas of skills, facilities and infrastructures.

“Based on our monitoring of the industry, we have moved Nigerian content to 42 percent from less than five percent before the advent of the NCDMB in 2010. Four years ago, we launched our 10 years strategic program to move Nigeria’s content in the oil and gas industry to 70 percent by the year 2027. Other strategic initiatives, under the specified period have been implemented to ensure the goals are achieved.

“Key lessons learned as regards the gap analysis are that it is good to have baseline data for available in-country capacities and capabilities to identify the existing gaps and set the target for that closure. There is a need to strike the balance between inspirational goals and realistic target setting. Both are important in driving investment, motivation and taking cognizance of local peculiarities.”

On capacity building, funding and incentives, he said: “Structured capacity building interventions are essential to spur the development of in-country capacities and capabilities. This is not limited only to local manufacturing and infrastructural development, but also to human capacity development.

“Funding and incentives are essential to implement local content programs, develop infrastructure, attract big investment and keep the existing business afloat when required in the Africa.”

We have also progress initiative with the African Petroleum Producers Organizations, APPO, to pull together funds to support the development of oil and gas development project in Africa.”

Wabote, whom also called for increased research and development, added: “Local content thrives where there are robust research and development guidelines to drive the development of own grown technology is essential in deepening local content practice.”

Meanwhile, Chairman, Platform Petroleum Limited, Mr. Dumo Lulu-Briggs, who called for capacity building, said: “The whole idea is to build capacity. We all recognize that capacity building is well important. There are a lot of opportunities and we have not yet explored them.”

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