The International Oil Companies (IOCs) are initiating fresh investment decisions especially in deep offshore fields as the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council creates better environment to attract investors in the oil and gas sector, writes CHIKA IZUORA
At the just-concluded 36th international conference and exhibition hosted by the Nigeria Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE), major oil companies showcased their advanced search for oil in the deep offshore fields as well as efforts to spud first oil from new fields. All these efforts are in line with the aspirations of government to shore up oil production and meet its reserve target, even in the face of different challenges which the industry is facing.
According to the managing director and chief executive officer of Total Exploration and Production, Mr. Nicolas Terraz, Nigerian oil and gas industry has come a long way and with new experiences and competencies, the industry has also witnessed significant growth in the participation of indigenous companies in the last two decades.
Terraz, while addressing captains of industries and key government officials at the management session, an interactive component of the conference, said there were still many opportunities and potentials for growth in the industry yet to be exploited.
He said the government has taken concerted efforts, to promote investment in the sector and the inauguration in July 2016, of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) to reform the business environment, has restored investors’ confidence especially in the sector.
The Council was also saddled with the important task of attracting investment into Nigeria as well as diversifying the economy.
He said: “In the oil and gas sector, new rules on gas flaring are opening up opportunities in the domestic gas markets and power generation. “Of course, there were further conversations to be had on fiscal regimes in the various sectors of the Nigerian economy, but my point is that Nigeria’s economy is gradually regaining the confidence of the global investment community and opportunities are not limited to the oil and gas industry. Growth opportunities abound in Nigeria and all stakeholders need to come together to achieve and sustain this growth.”
On the part of the oil major, Terraz said, Total was significantly pursuing its aspiration to becoming the, ‘Responsible Energy Major’ an ambition that is challenging it to provide more reliable, affordable and clean energy to the world’s growing population.
“Reliable, affordable and clean are all three words of equal importance,” he said. “Reliable, simply means that everybody expects energy to be readily and continuously available in their daily life, while affordable requires cheap energy that is necessary to spur the economic development of billions of people seeking better living conditions, and all polls indicate that it is the clear priority of all customers around the world while clean of course would help to reduce its environmental footprint and CO2 emissions.”
He also said that Total has operated in Nigeria for more than 60 years as a group, in partnership with Nigerian government and in different equity associations with other private companies.
Providing some insights into its value chain operations, he said that in its upstream activities, run by its exploration and production affiliate, like most of other international oil companies in Nigeria, the oil giant has moved from a predominantly land based production in the 60s to offshore in the 80s and then deep offshore in 2005, deepening a technically skilled industry workforce in the process.
Over the years, despite various challenges in the industry, Total, he said, has added three billion barrels of oil equivalent to Nigeria’s production and with the Egina project coming on stream in the next coming weeks, it would add another 200,000 barrels of oil per day, which is approximately 10 per cent of Nigeria’s oil production.
In the midstream sector of the industry, the company has 15 per cent interest in Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) which currently operates six LNG liquefaction trains in Bonny Island. “Indeed, 40 per cent of our production in Nigeria is also gas,” the Total CEO said.
“This is bound to increase in the coming years as Total looks to expand its gas business, and as part of our objective to provide more reliable, affordable energy to Nigeria’s growing population, Total is also currently developing a 100MW Katsina Solar Farm project in Katsina.” In the downstream affiliate, Total is a market leader with over 550 service stations spread across the nation. In 2014, Total pioneered the first solar powered station in West Africa, the Onigbagbo station in Ikeja Lagos, and since then it has built over 15 solar stations in Nigeria. Its global target is to reach 5,000 solar stations by 2020, and Total downstream activities are also number one in Africa with over 4,300 service stations in the continent offering a one-stop shop experience. Terraz, said, “For our customers, we aim to become providers of integrated solutions, delivering customer services shaped by closeness and innovation. This involves in particular transforming our service stations into community hubs with local and mobility related services, as part of a multi energy network. Total has embraced this change, recording increasing levels of local content participation with each new project. For the future, our focus will be on two main areas, offshore and gas. In deep offshore, the Egina project will soon come on stream and we are already working at realising new projects like Ikike in the conventional offshore and Preowei in the deep offshore.”
Speaking at the same forum, executive director, Corporate Affairs, Total Exploration and Production, Mr. Abiodun Afolabi, said the theme of the management session: ‘Organic Growth In Nigeria Oil And Gas Industry: Next Phase Where And How It Can Be Achieved’ was timely and a call on all concerned stakeholders to continue to come together, brainstorm, develop strategies and propose policy that would ensure the sustainability of the oil sector especially in this era of oil pricing uncertainty.
Afolabi assured of Total’s continued support to dialogues that deliberates on sustainability strategies for the industry.