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DECISION TO COMMERCIALIZE NNPC IRREVERSIBLE Dr. Goodluck Jonathan

The Nigeria Oil and Gas Conference marked its 10th anniversary at the 2010 edition which was held from February 22 - 25, 2010. The Conference had its theme as “The role of the Oil and Gas Industry in Nigeria’s 2020 Vision.

The event which was held at the International Conference Centre, Abuja was declared open by the Acting President and Commander In Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces Dr. Goodluck Jonathan Addressing participants at the conference, Dr. Jonathan said that the significance of hydrocarbon to the nation cannot be overemphasized. He said that one of the cardinal principles of the present administration is to maximize the natural resource to the benefit of all Nigerians. He stated the unwavering commitment of the Federal Government in pursuing the reforms in the Oil and Gas Sector in order to achieve energy security for the nation.

He seized the opportunity to remind the Legislators of the urgency in passing the Petroleum Industry Bill into law. The Acting President said that denial of power (electricity) to Nigerians is totally unacceptable. He likened it to a farmer, who after harvest takes the whole
proceeds to market to sell and leaves his family starving.

Speaking further, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan remarked that the amnesty initiative has achieved substantial gains. He expressed his gratitude to the youths in the Niger Delta for towing the path of dialogue. He assured that the youths will be fully engaged while the act of pipeline vandalization will not be tolerated. He remarked that this is a new era of partnership built on trust. Finally, Dr. Jonathan stressed that the decision to transform NNPC into a profitable business concern is irreversible.

The New National Oil Company like its peers across the globe is free to fund itself from the capital market, pay dividends to shareholders while taxes and royalties are paid to the government. The Acting President enjoined all stakeholders to work painstakingly to move the nation forward as the world is not waiting for Nigeria hence the need to join the committee of progressive nations through creating an enabling environment to make Nigerians proud. Presenting a paper on New Strategies for Investment in Nigeria’s Gas Sector, the Group General Manager, NAPIMS Dr. Ayo Balogun represented by Mr. Victor Briggs, GM, Planning Division, NAPIMS highlighted that gas will be playing a significant role as the nation strives to meet its goals since gas is more globally used than oil. Mr. Briggs said that Nigeria intends to
grow her gas reserves not only for domestic requirements but also for export needs pointing out that Nigeria’s gas is of high quality with less impurities.

Speaking on Gas Monetization, Mr. Briggs commended the evolving domestic market which he hopes will complement the earnings through export. The GGM declared that the new strategy is to get a balance between export and domestic use. While the export earns foreign exchange for the nation, domestic utilization will boost availability of energy with its multiplier effect on the nation’s economy.

The Gala Night and Awards Ceremony hosted by NNPC had in attendance Hon. Osita Izunaso Chairman, House Committee on Gas and the Honourable Minister for Petroleum Resources Dr. Rilwanu Lukman amongst other dignitaries. Speaking at the Gala Night, the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Dr. Sanusi Barkindo congratulated the organizers of the Conference - the CWC Group especially Dr. Alirio A. Parra whose effort in the last 10 years has yielded tremendous result in the Nigerian oil and gas sector.

Dr. Barkindo noted that the outcome of the conference will serve as a conduit that will usher in a new phase of growth and development in the Nigerian oil and gas industry. The conference had in attendance about 7,000 participants and 120 exhibitors.