How oil majors short-change Nigeria

Apr 25, 2005 02:00 AM

About $ 4 bn (N 532 bn) is lost annually in the Nigerian oil and gas industry through the activities of oil exploration and production firms who prefer to conduct industry-related researches, designs and certifications of projects abroad rather than patronising the Petroleum Training Institute (PTI) in Delta State.
Similarly, the Nigerian government which controls an average of 57 % share in the joint venture oil partnerships with the multinationals expends a huge chunk of foreign exchange on the importation of expatriate labour to undertake all manner of jobs that could have been done by even better trained indigenous manpower.

This dismal picture of the industry was presented at the opening of this year's Alumni Day organised by the Petroleum Training Institute (PTI) National Alumni Association held at the PTI conference centre Effurun, near Warri.
President of the PTI Alumni Association, Mr Solomon Edebiri disclosed that going by the Act establishing the institute and the dream of itsfounding fathers, Nigeria would by now have become a rallying point for expertise in petroleum technology but regretted that after over 30 years of the existence of PTI, the Nigerian oil industry is still dominated by foreigners and imported technology.

Edebiri said he had it on good authority that the exploration and production companies operating in Nigeria devote about 2.5 % of their annual profits to research centres overseas while nothing tangible is dedicated towards research and technological update in the Nigerian Petroleum Institute.
Making a case for the establishment of a Hydrocarbon Research and Development Centre (HRDC), Edebiri said that was the only way Nigeria and Nigerians could compete favourably with other oil producing nations of the world in the highly competitive industry. The centre, he said, is expected to be natured into an international centre for applied and adaptive research and development into the sciences, engineering and technology of hydrocarbons and allied disciplines.

"It is on record that as at today, Nigeria is the eight largest producer of oil and has gas reserves of over 180 tcf. Still there is no dedicated and functioning hydrocarbon research and development centre in Nigeria. The world largest producer, the United States of America has the American Petroleum Institute (API), which is equipped to handle all manner of research and development work.”
"Back here in Africa, we have the North Africa Research Group on Hydrocarbon, a consortium of three British universities conducting multi-disciplinary basic analysis and other geo-sciences research in five North African countries. The other one is that the institute dedicated themselves to hydrocarbon studies and development.”

"The situation we find in Nigeria is that all operating and service companies take their research studies overseas and come back to Nigeria to execute the result of the findings at great loss and cost to the nation's economy. Institutions of higher learning are ill equipped to perform those research works and when they do they are seldom recognized."
Meanwhile, the Chairman, House of Representatives committee on Gas Resources, Chief Mercy Almona, has given assurance that the proposed Hydrocarbon Research and Development Centre would be given a legal teeth through sponsorship of a bill on the flout of the House.

The research centre, Almona-Isei said would become a valuable tool in the quest to realize the indigenisation and increased local content concepts of the Nigerian oil and gas sector.
According to the federal legislator, not many nations are better poised to take advantage and lead the development of the extractive industry as the global economy continues to pick up than Nigeria, being a major player in the Gulf of Guinea.

Source: This Day
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