The Executive Director, A-Z Petroleum Products Kenya Limited, Prof Charles Ofoegbu, has noted that the International Oil Companies, IOCs, are fighting the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, into law because of local content.
He stressed that the foreign players are kicking against the bill because of their concerns on local content.
Ofoegbu, a geophysist and the former Director General, Building and Road Research Institute, NBRRI, also attributed the dwindling demand for Nigerian barite to cash calls as against quality.
He said: “As far as they are concerned, we must not encourage the mining of barite in Nigeria. No local content should be in our petroleum industry. That is why they are fighting even the PIB.”On local content, he said that creating the Nigerian Content Monitoring and Development Board is different from getting the board to regulate the industry.
According to him: “The board is one thing and another thing is to get the board to control the industry.
“There are so many boards in this country and so many decrees and so many acts. One thing is even to enforce it. You first create an enabling environment to ensure that if it is material need, that material is locally available.
“If it is human resources need, you must provide a base that you don’t need to depend on anybody.”
Ofoegbu submitted that government must inject funds into the industry for local players to assert their authority.
He, however, said that the major challenge in the upstream oil sub-sector is funding, since oil is a capital intensive business with a high risk.Ofoegbu stressed the needs for banks to support indigenous oil firms.
He dismissed fears over a declining demand for Nigeria’s crude oil, saying there can never be a substitute to oil.
Reacting to the United States energy policy to stop oil import for a substitute commodity, Ofoegbu said: “Let me be frank with you, there will never be a substitute to oil because of the technology.
“It can never be a substitute to the present oil that is being used now. It will only accommodate some minor components of the domestic needs.”
Information from The Nation was used in this report.