We can’t turn our back on oil exploration –Buhari

From Uche Usim, Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari, on Monday described Nigeria’s huge hydrocarbon deposits as a blessings that should be urgently harnessed as the country cannot turn it’s back on it due to its numerous benefits. The President who harped on deepening hydrocarbon usage at the opening ceremony of the fourth Nigeria International Petroleum Summit (NIPS 2021) in Abuja, stressed that the fundamental outcome expected of the summit should be the strategies and new approaches on the future of the hydrocarbon in the country.

President Buhari, who was represented at the event by the Minister of State Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva, said that  “The outcome should also be on how to return on the attractive performance of the pre pandemic era. 

“We cannot turn out back yet on more exploration. Discovery of new fields is crucial and we need to address short term opportunities using technology that can extend life of the fields.  

“Nobody should doubt our commitment to this because of our bold move by issuing new marginal field awards,” he said. 

The President noted that award guarantees the target of four million  barrel per day production and 40 trillion proven target. 

Buhari noted that the theme of NIPS 2021: “From Crises to Opportunities” was apt considering that the world is focusing on energy transition. He said Nigeria has also joined the train, hence the urgent need explore the rich alternative energy sources in Nigeria.

He said: “Governments across the world are now more focused on tracking the crises caused by COVID-19 to economies, than the press for energy transition but however, energy transition is real and renewable energy is cheaper. 

“Investors are conscious of environmental issues and are turning their back on hydrocarbon investments but history has shown that human beings have insatiable need of energy which renewables does not have the capacity to provide in the future.

“Expert projects that 80 per cent of world energy needs by 2040 will come from hydrocarbon,” he said.

He added that fossil fuel will continue to be source for petrol chemical and would remain a multi-trillion business in  coming decades. 

“So,  for us as a country with vast hydrocarbon potential the situation is an opportunity  and how we can utilise it is a matter of strategy,” he said. 

Buhari further explained that developing the strategy was the core focus of the current administration in instituting NIPS in 2016.

In his, remarks as Minister of State Petroleum Resources, Sylva explained that the physical hosting of NIPS 2021 was an indication of the government’s commitment to developing  the petroleum sector. 

He added that though COVID-19 negatively impacted the oil sector, Nigeria had remained focus in its drive to bring investments in the sector. He added that Nigeria remained focused in moving its economy to a gas economy and be relevant in the global industrialisation drive. 

He said that the new focus  to drive the sector was a strong collaboration among industry players. 


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