The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Thursday said his regime’s drive for economic diversification using the oil and gas industry as a pivot remained on track.
According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, the President spoke at the virtual inauguration of the National Oil and Gas Excellence Center at the Department of Petroleum Resources headquarters, Lagos.
The statement was titled “President Buhari inaugurates Excellence Center, says Nigeria will maintain position as regional leader in oil and gas industry.”
Adesina qouted the President as saying that Nigeria would strengthen its position as regional leader in the oil and gas industry.
Buhari added that his regime would spare no effort in ensuring maximum benefit from the nation’s huge natural resources.
He also pledged that the Federal government would continue to leverage oil and gas for development and pursue economic diversification across all sectors.
He said, ‘’You would recall that at the beginning of this administration, we set a clear road map for the oil and gas sector in order to increase value from the nation’s huge resource potential and create opportunities for investors, both local and foreign, when I declared that: ‘Nigeria is Open for Business!’
‘’I am delighted that since then, we have witnessed major Final Investment Decisions in the sector such as the AKK Pipeline project, the NLNG Train-7 project, and the completion of the 5,000 barrels per day Waltersmith Modular refinery.
‘’Our renewed drive for economic diversification using the oil and gas industry as a pivot remains on track as we expand government revenues and deploy them to grow our Gross Domestic Product, generate employment and contribute to eliminating poverty in Nigeria.
‘’This National Oil and Gas Excellence Center will serve as an integrated resource complex to drive safety, value and cost efficiency in the industry. It is therefore another milestone in the development of oil and gas sector and the realisation of greater value for the country.”
On the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the nation’s economy, Buhari noted that in 2020, global economies were faced with unprecedented challenges and severe shocks.
The President said Nigeria was not spared from the impact of the COVID-19, oil price crash and OPEC production cuts with direct impact on government revenue projections and national economy.
‘’However, we are emerging more resilient in 2021 owing, in part, to efforts of the agencies of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources who work under my leadership and the direct supervision of the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, to keep oil & gas production levels stable, optimise government revenues, and ensure domestic energy security.”
In his remarks, the Minister of State Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, explained that the integrated Center encompassed five units designed to comprehensively cover key areas of the industry while enhancing safety, value and cost efficiency.
The units are: Search, Rescue and Surveillance, Command and Control Center; National Improved Oil Recovery Center; Oil and Gas Alternative Dispute Resolution Center; Oil and Gas Competence Development Center and Integrated Data Mining and Analytics Center.
On SERAS, the minister further explained that it was a flagship programme of the center designed to enhance safety management, emergency preparedness and response, and routine transportation for bed-space management.