Nigeria must plan beyond oil to avert decline in reserves ― Sylva

The Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva has reiterated the need for the country to plan beyond oil in order to avert the inevitable decline in oil and gas reserves and demands.

Chief Sylva reiterated the call, on Monday, at the two-day International Conference on Hydrocarbon Science & Technology (ICHST) held at the Petroleum Training Institute (PTI) Conference Centre at Effurun-Warri, Delta State.

The theme of the conference, organised by PTI as part of a weeklong 2019 Convocation Ceremony, was “Oil & Beyond Oil: Strategies, Policies and Technologies to Assure National Energy Security.”

The minister was represented by the Technical Assistant to the Honorable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources on Niger Delta Matters, Felix Brisibe.

Speaking to journalists at the sidelines of the conference, Brisibe averred that “the next future to come, if we do not, as a country, begin to plan beyond oil, we will begin to experience a situation whereby the demand will continue to also decline as much as the reserve is also declining.”

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The minister, when asked how the resolutions reached at the conference will be executed in practical terms, said the Federal Government was determined to take full advantage of the petroleum resources to diversify the sector.

“Clearly, there’s a fact that we have a clear strategic mandate from the presidency to the ministry as to the preparation system to the next level, how we will be able to grow the economy, taking full advantage of the oil resources and the revenue we have here.

“By and large, what I’m trying to say is that the recommendation and strategic initiatives that will be arrived at from this conference will be communicated to the Honorable Minister so that he can also articulate it, present it to the presidency and it will form part of the strategic focus with respect to Mr President’s agenda for the next level,” he noted.

The principal of PTI, Prof Sunny Iyuke, in his welcome address earlier, said the event would form a part of the platform for the exchange of knowledge and sharing of experiences of hydrocarbon technology.

According to him, the resolutions that would be arrived at will form part of the solutions to alternative security.

On how the Nigerian oil economy could be diversified, the representative of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, aligned with Professor Christopher Orubu on the need to build very strong institutions that would enable the country to effectively harness the resources from oil and move them further into other areas to guarantee security for the future.

Prof Orubu, a don from the Delta State University, Abraka, in his presentation, who described Nigeria as an elephant walking with a mosquito leg, urged the Federal Government to encourage the private sector to oversee the economy but should formulate guiding policies that it too must obey

Orubu, who identified the lack of ability to run a developmental state, further urged the FG to build strong institutions if it must use oil wells to develop the country for the good of the people.

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