Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday, stated that Nigeria’s chances of deriving the maximum benefits from the petroleum industry was narrowing, going by global energy trends. Speaking during the presentation of three books authored by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, Osinbajo, however, stated that despite the dwindling chances of optimal benefits, the country needed the oil sector in its quest to diversify the economy of the country away from oil.
The books presented are: Compendium of Oil and Gas Cases in Nigeria; Legal issues in the Nigerian Petroleum Industry; and The Petroleum Industry Bill: Getting to the Yes.
Osinbajo said: “As we move to diversify our economy, we are acutely aware that we need oil to get out of oil. Yet, our window of opportunity to benefit maximally from the petroleum industry is narrowing.
“The development of shale oil, which the author spends considerable time on; the increasing breakthrough in renewable energy use; the incredible speed of the expansion of the use of electric vehicles — Japan now has more electric charging stations than gas stations; all point inexorably that the party might be over sooner than we expected.”
Also, to ensure that the country derives the maximum benefits from the petroleum sector, in spite of the global challenges, Osinbajo stated that the Federal Government had had to deal frontally with the critical issues bedeviling the sector, such as the deregulation of the downstream sector and its continuing challenges. Other issues addressed by the Federal Government Other issues addressed by the Federal Government, according to him, include vandalism of pipelines and export facilities and the critical drop in production; gas-to-power issue; the urgent imperatives of local refining; cash call problems and the plans to exit that regime and empower indigenous operators.
He further lamented that the country’s oil and gas laws and policy were bereft of quality materials, stating that the three books authored by Kachikwu would help fill that lacuna. He said: “These books are important because oil and gas laws and policy in Nigeria is notoriously undeserved with quality materials.
There are just not enough scholarly materials on the subject. But perhaps of greater importance is the pedigree of the author.
“With Kachikwu’s antecedents, it is expected that the quality of thoughts and insights and solutions that should be on offer should be unique indeed. I am pleased to say that from my assessment of one of the books, he did not disappoint.”
Osinbajo argued that Kachikwu clearly took advantage of the rare convergence of scholarship, contemporary experience and policy wisdom to deliver what were probably today, the most significant contribution to the understanding of major issues and nuances of the Nigerian petroleum industry.
Also speaking, Kachikwu explained that Nigeria was going through difficult times, where thinking outside the box was absolutely key for the country to succeed as a nation.
He said: “The solutions do not just lie in us, they lies with everybody who is a Nigerian, and in your own very little ways, I urge everybody to continue to think outside the box, seek new solutions, put them forward, and hopefully, ultimately , we will get to that promised land that we all seek.”