Former managing director of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), now chairman, Shell Companies in Nigeria, Osagie Okunbor, has urged Nigeria and other crude oil-producing countries not to be in a hurry to discard liquid energy (crude oil).
Okunbor told top industry players and regulators who converged on Abuja, saying “We do need crude oil.”
Okunbor spoke as an expert and resource panelist Tuesday, April 18, 2023, at the Nigeria International Energy Summit (NIES) at the International Conference Centre (ICC) in Abuja.
He spoke at the CEO Roundtable of NIES focussing on: ‘Building Energy for Tomorrow’.
The former MD said the energy sector is often affected by unforseen emergencies and thus urged policy makers to consider all energy sources than discard any.
He pointed at the war in Ukraine which he said has forced western countries back to crude oil and even coal.
He advised that energy should be devoted to all energy sources and that Nigeria was abundantly blessed with each: crude oil, gas, solar, wind, or hydro.
He reminded Nigeria about its gas reserve of over 600 bcfg, urging the country to deploy this resource in finding the energy transition.
He began by pointing at Nigeria’s burgeoning youth population rated at 65 percent, saying it may be big opportunity or big threat.
According to him, jobs should be the focus of the new energy policy and that Nigeria must consider job creation in every singular policy to be put on the table.
He said: “Let’s use all because Nigeria is rich in each of them. Gas is a transition fuel.”
On present challenges of the sector, the chairman of SCiN said shutdown of the trans-national pipelines (TNP) for one full year has grossly impacted the economy especially the energy sector.
In trying to reactivate and reopen the TNP, he said, over 460 illegal connection points were straped on it.
He confirmed that Shell Nigeria has just lifted the force majeure that was imposed on the heat of the pipeline vandalism. “This affected supply of gas to the NLNG.”
On this score, the industry expert advised the next administration to regard fight against oil theft as number one agenda so export of crude can be guaranteed.
The next challenge waiting for the next administration, Okunbor stressed is attracting investment capital back to the sector. “If our projects are not attractive, it means they are not free from impediments.”
Also, heavy debts to the IOCs, disclosing the Shell is owed $200m with another IOC next on the line.
“We are still chasing these debts. The Petroleum Industry Act has since been enacted, I congratulate Nigeria. Attracting investment capital is the next challenge. This is what states the incoming administration in the face at the moment.”
Responding to questions, Osagie made it clear that all industry players should know they all are in same boat. He mentioned the problems as insecurity, availability of capital, environmental sustainability, etc.
He said: “Shell is big in deepwater, also plays deep in the new energy space through All On which he said has $200m ceded to it. All On is punching above it’s weight”.
He also said that Shell has aquired an international energy company (Dayster Energy which is being scaled up.
Saying Shell is playing in all traditional areas, he added that it was also playing big in gas, and that Shell was discussing with other groups such as the NLNG, NCDMB, NNPC, among others on how to get it right.
On his worst fear, the chairman of SCiN said it was how to deliver seven big ticket projects ongoing in Nigeria despite the numerous challenges.