Africa’s richest man and founder, Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, has raised the alarm over rising threats to Nigeria’s oil and gas fortunes owing to the rising spate of terrorism in the country.
He said the windows of opportunities created for Nigeria and other countries in the region by the worsening instability in the Middle East, North Africa and Ukraine, were being undermined by the region’s own woes linked to instability as a result of terrorist tendencies.
Dangote said this in an address at the All Convention Luncheon at the 32nd International Conference and Exhibition of the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists in Lagos.
The address which was made available to our correspondent, quoted the business mogul as saying, “For Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea region, the challenge posed by the shale oil and gas revolution and the shift in supply dynamics has only been ameliorated by the worsening instability in the Middle East, North Africa and Ukraine which has created a window of opportunity for the region’s oil.
“Unfortunately, this window of opportunity is currently being threatened by the region’s own increasing instability as a result of the terrorist activity in Nigeria and political instability in other parts of the region such as Sudan.”
To address these challenges, he said Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea region must increase local processing and consumption.
“This has been a goal of the Nigerian Government for many years,” he said, but added that progress had been impeded by lack of investment in the downstream petroleum sector as well as an outdated policy and regulatory environment for the oil and gas sector.
Dangote, who spoke on the topic, ‘Global Energy Policies and Power Play- Emerging Regional Dynamics’, said the current situation spoke of the Gulf of Guinea in general, and Nigeria in particular, especially now that not a single drop of oil from Nigeria, and only an insignificant quantity from the region in general is going to the United States of America, the traditional market for the bulk of the oil trade from the region.
“This new trend is not likely to change in the foreseeable future,” he emphasised.
Until recently, he said sustained high oil prices as well as an increasing demand fueled by growth-induced demand in fast growing countries such as China, India and other emerging economies, had encouraged the development of new sources of oil, especially shale oil and gas as well as the emergence of new oil regions.