The Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr. Austen Oniwon, has said that the corporation would ensure that national security is guaranteed and that the country derives more benefits from the exploration of the nation’s hydrocarbon resources by intensifying efforts at encourage indigenous participation in the upstream sector of the oil and gas industry.
Oniwon gave this assurance yesterday when he received a 23-man delegation from the Faculty staff and top ranking military officers of the National Defence University in Pakistan.
He said it was in line with this commitment that two oil wells from which Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) recently divested were ceded to indigenous companies to manage.
According to him, developments around the globe dictated that nations encourage indigenous capacity in their upstream sector as international political developments might cause foreign upstream players to abandon their post, leaving an unprepared nation in a lurch.
He said that the NNPC was poised to enhance its participation in the upstream sector through its exploration and production company, the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), which has a target to increase its production from its current 80,000 barrels per day to 250,000 per day in 2015.
While appreciating the technological challenges which the Corporation might encounter in its efforts to participate in the upstream sector, Oniwon emphasised however, that the Corporation has plans to acquire the right technologies to achieve its target, disclosing that Nigerians in the Diaspora who possess expertise in the upstream would be hired to ensure that NPDC target is met.
He disclosed that in spite of the amnesty programme, security still remained a challenge in the sector, stating that criminal elements daily brake pipelines leading to losses being suffered by the Corporation and other players in the industry.
He noted that President Goodluck Jonathan’s gas initiative would generate over 100,000 engineering-related jobs, as well as about 500,000 direct and indirect jobs in construction, logistics fabrication and agriculture.