President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday inaugurated the National Oil and Gas Excellence Centre (NOGEC) Lagos, aimed at strengthening Nigeria’s position as a regional leader in the oil and gas industry.
Buhari said the establishment of NOGEC, situated at the Lagos Annex of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), would enhance safety, value and cost efficiency in Nigeria’s petroleum sector.
He said: “NOGEC aligns with the administration’s commitment to fostering stability, growth and sustainability of the Nigerian oil and gas industry for economic development.
“You will recall that at the inception of this administration, we set a clear road map for the oil and gas sector in order to increase revenue.”
The President said the centre would boost the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), generate employment and poverty reduction.
“It is therefore another milestone in the development of the oil and gas sector and its utilisation for the greater good of the country. The establishment of NOGEC is an indication that the Nigerian oil and gas industry has come of age despite the odds,” he added.
He said the Federal Government had made some significant achievements in the oil and gas industry in spite of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic which affected global economies, including Nigeria’s, in 2020.
The achievements, Buhari said, included the signing of the Final Investment Decision on the Nigerian Liquified Natural Gas Company Train 7, construction of the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano gas pipeline project and inauguration of the 5,000BPD Waltersmith Refinery in Imo State.
“While acknowledging our achievements, we must not relent but redouble our efforts to combat the challenges of global energy dynamics. I, therefore, urge you all to rededicate yourself to nation building and take advantage of the establishment of the centre to address the challenges confronting the sector.
”On our part, we will spare no effort to ensure that Nigeria benefits hugely from its natural resources. We will continue to leverage on oil and gas development and pursue our economic diversification drive,” the President said.
Also, Chief Timipre Sylva, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, said the ministry under Buhari’s leadership had continued to implement sustainable reforms and policy directives in the Nigerian oil and gas industry .
Sylva said: “This is targeted at driving optimum value from our petroleum resources for Nigerians.
“NOGEC which is being inaugurated today is a testament to the successes achieved in this regard. NOGEC has been carefully designed to support the achievement of the ministerial priorities significant amongst which are cost reduction, increase in production, and value maximisation in the industry.
“The centre, under the direct supervision of the DPR, will leverage the existing capacity of the National Data Repository as the principal data warehouse of the industry to drive initiatives that will enhance safety.”
The minister said the flagship centres were Search, Rescue and Surveillance Command and Control Centre and National Improved Oil Recovery Centre.
Others, according to him, are Oil and Gas Dispute Resolution Centre, Oil and Gas Competence Development Centre and Integrated Data Mining and Analytics Centre.
He said when fully operational, the centre would contribute to reducing the cost of doing business in the oil and gas industry, enhance safety of the work force and provide data that were critical for prospective investors.
Earlier, in his address of welcome, Mr Sarki Auwalu, Director of DPR, said NOGEC encompasses industry-focussed programmes that would drive strategic mediation in operations, skills and competence development.
Auwalu said it also included the use of Big Data, Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence for decision making, deployment of proven technology for secondary and tertiary oil recovery as well as coordinated response for emergency.
He said : “Today, we have concluded the framework and implementation modalities for successful take-off of these Programmes within NOGEC.
“We have no doubt that the industry now has the resource and platform to interact, cooperate and collaborate on salient industry issues that remain impediments to cost reduction, safe operations and optimum value optimisation.”
Auwalu also lauded the President for his visionary leadership and stewardship to drive Nigeria’s energy security and economic sustainability agenda and Sylva for his commitment to the growth of the industry.