By Omon-Julius Onabu
Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, has reassured Nigerians of an increased power generation in the country through the fervent pursuance of her 12-month Gas Emergency timeline for the revival and expansion of the country’s gas-to-power capacity.
The minister gave the assurance Thursday while leading a team of experts and relevant stakeholders in the oil and gas industry on tour of gas facilities in Delta State.
Utorogu Gas Plant Joint Venture operated by the Shell Petroleum Development Company Nigeria Limited (SPDC) in Ughelli South Local Government Area of the state was one of the major facilities inspected by the oil minister.
Alison-Madueke also undertook a tour of well-head facilities at LEE Engineering & Construction Company as well as MAKON Engineering & Technical Services workshop, which are among the leading indigenous construction companies associated with gas production and supply sector.
The minister expressed satisfaction with efforts of Nigerian entrepreneurs and professionals to key effectively into the window of opportunities opened in the upstream sector of the oil industry by the Nigerian Local Content Act.
She noted that the efforts of the Managing Director of LEE Engineering & Construction Compnay, Mr. Lemon Ikpea, was particularly outstanding, saying the internationalised acknowledged expertise was being domesticated for the benefit of future generations of Nigerians.
The minister’s visit to gas facilities in Delta State marked the commencement of “a weeklong tour of all gas installations and projects listed for the production of additional gas under the Gas Supply Emergency Programme”, the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Dr. Levi Ajuonuma, told journalists.
Ajuonoma, who said the experts’ tour “is geared towards eliminating bottlenecks in the drive to ensure adequate gas supply for power needs,” further disclosed that Alison-Madueke would today preside over a round-table of stakeholders in Lagos.
The focus of the round-table discussion is Crude Oil Production and the State of the Oil Industry in Nigeria, he revealed.
“This is a very crucial task that is why the Honourable Minister has directed the Group Executive Director (GED), in charge of Exploration and Production at the NNPC, Mr. Andy Yakubu to lead the inspection” Ajuonoma noted, adding, “The team is expected to report back to the minister on a project-by-project basis.”
Other projects slated for the team’s visit include “new gas plants, as well as expansion of existing plants and new pipeline infrastructure projects,’’ Ajuonuma stated.
He said the inspection team would include the corporation’s GED (Gas & Power), Dr. David Ige; Managing Director of Gas Aggregator Company of Nigeria, Mr Kunle Allen; Managing Director of Nigerian Gas Company, Mr. Saidu Mohammed and Morrison Fiddi, as well as Mr. Paul Ajishafe, General Manager (Gas) of National Petroleum Investment Management Services, NAPIMS.
Alison-Madueke would lead the discussion on a wide range of issues and challenges in the upstream sector of the petroleum industry in Nigeria vis-à-vis the numerous daunting challenges facing the industry like pipeline vandalism, asset integrity problems and deliberate disturbances masterminded by host communities.
The Round-table would have in attendance Chief Executives of International Oil and Gas Companies, IOCs, Indigenous operators as well as other key stakeholders in the nation’s oil and gas industry.
Alison-Madueke later performed the official opening ceremony of the LEE Engineering Office Complex at Ekpan-Warri.
Among top industry players on hand to receive the oil minister during the tour were the Managing Director/Chairman of SPDC, Mr. Mutiu Sunmonu; the Managing Director of the NPDC, Mr. Membere Abiye; and the chairman of the Nigerian Content Development and Management Board, Mr Ernest Nwapa.
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