The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) says only collaboration among African oil and gas producing countries in the development of industry infrastructure will ensure they are competitive on the global stage.
The Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Maikanti Baru, who said this in a goodwill message at the opening of the 2nd Nigerian International Petroleum Summit (NIPS) in Abuja, called for cooperation among all African oil and gas producers.
No fewer than 14 countries, namely Algeria, Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Egypt, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, South Africa, Libya, and Nigeria, are among the oil and gas producers in Africa.
A cross-nation collaboration among African oil-producing countries, Mr Baru said, was essential to convert the challenges in the oil and gas sectors of individual countries to opportunities for economic growth.
The NNPC boss, who identified the legal and regulatory framework as possible areas of collaboration, said synergy in these areas could enhance the abundant opportunities inherent in the new oil and gas discoveries across many countries in Africa.
The GMD said the huge opportunities in the African oil and gas industry would not be fully tapped if African countries failed to address critical issues of lack of infrastructure, legal and regulatory impediments, and transparency issues.
Citing the proposed Nigeria-Morocco Gas Pipeline as an example of the type of infrastructural collaboration needed across Africa, Mr Baru said the project would traverse at least 15 West-African countries.
The pipeline has intake and offtake points in the various countries before linking with the existing Maghreb-Europe Gas Pipeline in northern Morocco.
"The feasibility study has been concluded and the pre-FEED (Front End Engineering Design) optimisation study is currently ongoing. While this pipeline will help in electrification and industrialisation of these countries, it will also meet the needs of European consumers for heating," Mr Baru said.
He described NIPS as a veritable platform and a melting pot to meet, discuss and share ideas on how to galvanise Africa's response to global oil and gas industry challenges.
This will also help move forward the Nigerian oil and gas industry and the economies of the various countries in the continent.
He said NNPC shares in his vision for NIPS to be the premier African Petroleum Technology and Business Conference and the largest gathering of oil and gas professionals in the continent.
On his part, the Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, who also represented President Muhammadu Buhari, said the time has come for players in the oil and gas industry to "think Africa, think collaboration and think the future".
The theme for this year's summit is, "Shaping the Future through Efficiency and Innovation", with a sub-theme for the first day as: "Africa on the Global Stage: International Collaboration, Opportunities and the Future".
NIPS 2019 attracted participants from members of African Petroleum Producers Organization (APPO), Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) and Oil Producers Trade Section (OPTS) of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industries (LCCI), amongst others.