The Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, (NCDMB) Dr Ernest Nwapa, said that the signing of the Local Content Act into law has liberated the potentials in Nigerian entrepreneurs.
Nwapa when he met with Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of indigenous oil and gas exploration and production (E&P) companies at a historic roundtable conference organized by NOG intelligence in Lagos this week.
The event, which was attended by CEOs of leading indigenous producers, including Mr Austin Avuru, CEO of Seplat Petroleum Development Company and Chief Tunde Afolabi, CEO of Amni International Petroleum Development Company, met to discuss local content challenges faced by indigenous producers. Most CEOs and Executive Directors of producing Nigerian independents were present, whilst high-level executives represented those CEOs that were unable to attend.
There was an air of expectancy about the event, as the CEOs expressed their appreciation for the importance of the engagement and the potential that it had to deliver solutions that could be the driver for a re-writing of local content policy for Nigerian independents.
The round table conference was designed as a forum at which indigenous E&P companies could come together collectively to articulate their challenges and work together to come up with solutions and recommendations to NCDMB and government for making indigenous oil and gas production sustainable.
At the event, several CEOs made presentations about the challenges they currently face both in terms of local content compliance and also in terms of government policies generally.
The working groups created during the all-day round table conference, discussed three main areas: finance; facilities and operations; and compliance and policing.
A case was made for softening local content and government policies in a bid to encourage indigenous oil and gas production and make it sustainable over the long term.
Dr Nwapa was roundly praised by the CEOs for his willingness to engage with them in this collective fashion.
On his part, the NCDMB Scribe, who said he had been trying for four years to get the opportunity for such a collective engagement with CEOs of with indigenous companies, paid tribute to the Minister of Petroleum Resources and the President.
He said the administration had provided a conducive environment for the successes recorded in the implementation of local content, noting that signing the Nigerian Content Bill into law unleashed the potentialities of Nigerian entrepreneurs. “When President Jonathan signed the Act in 2010, he set Nigerian entrepreneurs free,” he said.
Two working groups created at the conference and each led by one of the CEOs will continue to work on the recommendations from the round table. One group will interface with NCDMB and the other, with the government.