Petroleum resources minister Diezani Alison-Madueke has said that the recent contract awards to indigenous companies to lift crude oil was to encourage effective local participation in the industry. Alison-Madueke said the decision was a deliberate policy of the Federal Government to encourage Nigerians to participate in the oil and gas sector of the economy.
This is contained in a statement issued on Sunday in Abuja by the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division of the NNPC, Mr Ohi Alegbe. According to the statement, over 60 per cent of the 2014 to 2015 annual term contracts for lifting of Nigeria's crude oil were awarded to local firms after a painstaking pre-qualification process.
It stated that the balance was shared among some international trading companies, refineries and to some countries with bilateral trade agreements with Nigeria. "When we unveiled the Nigerian content law a few years back, the overriding principle was to grow indigenous capacity in an aggressive manner.
"I am happy to report that today, in the oil and gas sector, Nigerian content has been placed on the path of irreversible progress," it quoted the minister as saying. It said that the award to local players was in line with the aspiration of President Goodluck Jonathan to effectively transform the petroleum industry.
It said that the advent of the Nigerian content law had encouraged indigenous investment in critical infrastructure. "We have seen robust indigenous investments in marine vessels of various categories, and wholly owned Nigerian vessels have increased astronomically throughout the years.
"These vessels are the category one and category two types. "Investments in reception, storage and distribution facilities such as jetties, depots, trucks, vessels and modern retail outlets have more than doubled over the past few years. "This has helped to increase the nation's sufficiency level in petrol supply," it said.
It stated that as at the last count indigenous investments in the sector had created over 40,000 jobs across the hydrocarbon value chain. "We have witnessed increased local investments in asset, in land, swamp and offshore rigs which are vital performance indicators in business growth in Nigerian service companies.
"As we speak, Nigerian companies are forging partnerships for deep water rig ownership and are evolving strategies that will increase rig ownership among local players," it noted.