The global energy market is a very simple one anchored on complex demand patterns and money moves. For this reason, stakeholders in the sector simply cannot sleep. The landscape is ever dynamic and this explains why a lot of things that were previously thought to be impossible are now happening. There is now more pressure on field owners to develop and produce their assets to trigger genuine transformation and growth.
The Bayelsa State Government as a key stakeholder in the oil and gas industry has made giant strides to effectively and efficiently harness her interest in a thousand ways, most notably through its oil company (Bayelsa Oil Company Limited) and its partners in OML 46 Atala field. The field was discovered, drilled, cased but not completed in 1982 by SPDC. In 2004, it was farmed-out to the Bayelsa State Government and operated by the Bayelsa State Oil and Gas Company. This field was dormant for over a decade as the Bayelsa State Oil Company sought out adept ways to fund, develop and produce the asset. This challenge was not peculiar to the Bayelsa State Oil Company as she was among a league of State owned Oil companies that had been unable to develop fields they farmed into. In the turn of the year 2018, her fortunes changed as it along with her funding and technical partner- Century Exploration and Production Limited (CEPL) successfully defied the paradigm and false belief in the Nigerian Oil and Gas industry that state owned oil companies cannot produce oil. The Bayelsa Oil and Gas Company and CEPL have successfully transformed the lot of the ATALA field despite the inherent challenge of funding and technical expertise. They deployed top drawer solutions and leveraged on a vast network of relationships to turn things around.
It is believed that this rebirth initiated by the Bayelsa Oil Company and her partner, CEPL has left the door opened for other state owned oil companies to look inwards and partner with indigenous companies to finance, operate, and develop erstwhile comatose assets for optimum youth engagement and improved revenue. This is the only way out as privately owned indigenous companies are growing stronger thanks to their strong resolution to succeed as well as the efforts of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) to transform the capacity and competence pool of the country. Today, privately owned companies are doing very well in supporting the NNPC, NPDC and IOCs quest to achieve set objectives and this support must be utilized by state governments and state oil companies. The Bayelsa state success must be replicated as it is proof that the financial responsibility to develop and produce fields can be undertaken by indigenous companies and the technical know-how is also not lacking.
We must congratulate and emulate the blueprint of Bayelsa State as it shows that states can be involved in the oil business without spending a kobo of tax payers’ money but through quality partnerships geared towards a common good.