Experts in Energy Business have charged investors seeking to enter into the Nigerian Oil & Gas sector to build capacity via collaborations with industry experts and subject matter specialists as a means to reaping long-term benefits on their investments.
This was the highlight of discussions at the inaugural edition of the Nigerian Navy Secondary School Alumni Thought Leadership Series held recently in Lagos, themed: The Energy Business in Nigeria.
While giving the opening address, Ladipo Adedeji, member of the Graduating Class of ‘93 and alumnus, stated that the Thought Leadership Series was inaugurated as part of efforts to improve discussions towards actionable steps to achieve the vision behind the independence of Nigeria.
He said: “For over 37 years, the Nigerian Navy Secondary Schools have raised outstanding leaders in every sphere of society. As alumni of the institution, we hope that the outcomes from the Thought Leadership Series serve to fulfill part of our responsibilities in nurturing leaders in Nigeria and harnessing the collective successes towards a course for the next generation.”
The General Alumni President, Mr Gboyega Apata opened with a keynote speech on the Vision of the TLS, powered by the alumni and the conviction that when a country places a premium on its people and ideas as assets, it sets a path to growth and development at a mercurial pace. He succinctly stated the intention of the TLS was to marry intellectualism with pragmatic solutions worthy of advisory note in policy making and investment decisions. He summarized that the TLS was the alumni’s contribution to changing society… “One idea at a time”.
Panel guest speakers included Mr. Tayo Ogunbanjo, Mr. Femi Odusote and Mr. Dipo Olasebikan who occupy various positions in the energy sector and spoke to the wealth of opportunities available.
Mr Tayo Ogunbanjo elucidated that the while Oil & Gas contributes less than 20% of National GDP it provides over 90% of foreign exchange earnings, making it key to Nigeria. Recent key developments provide increasing opportunities for local participation, including the current Local Content Policy, centralization of procurement tenders through NIPEX, swift permits and licensing through DPR, OGISP e-portal, and upcoming PIB and Nigeria Gas Flare Commercialization Programs.
Mr Femi Odusote spoke on the global trends of increased oil supply coupled with the decreasing global demand for oil, leading to lower oil prices which will persist medium term, so companies / countries need to adopt strategies for this environment. Nigeria needs to make the transition to a gas economy for development and economic growth, by unlocking huge potentials in this space. There is also a focus on developing gas infrastructure as well as the support of gas to power projects.
Mr. Dipo Olasebikan closed out the panel emphasizing the need for specializations and competence when applying for opportunities in the energy industry. He spoke on the need for proper documentation and licensing especially seeking the partnerships or knowledge of subject matter experts when putting forth bids and investments. He described the need to go beyond a briefcase mentality, on in which there is little or no depth capacity in the portfolio of ‘oil and gas” companies. This will ensure participants room to reap long term benefits of their investments.
Notable alumni present included Hakeem Muri-Okunola, Head of Service, Lagos State an alumnus of the institution, who, lauded the initiative and shared words of wisdom noting that there was inherent wealth in leveraging talents and networks in building sustainable industries. He also pledged his support towards actualising the objectives of the meeting, Femi Ogunseinde an entrepreneur in the Oil, Gas and Power space.
According to him: “While environmental concerns and the emergence of the digital era are driving strategies and investment decisions on a global scale, it is expected that in developing nations with huge populations, the demand for lower cost fossil fuels will continue to be strong. Accordingly, the energy mix will continue to include fossil fuels for the foreseeable future.”
Mrs Nonso Azazi the PRO of the Executive Committee (’96) closed the session by thanking the online and physical attendees for the thought provoking questions and lauded the robustness of the discourse. She offered an invite to the networking session to the attendees. She promised to document the collation of ideas as body of work to interested parties and its dissemination to relevant government units in the near future.