Oil and gas stakeholders in the sub-Saharan region have called for quicker regulatory approval as a strategy for fully harnessing the oil and gas potentials of the region.
Speaking at the Sub-Sahara Africa Upstream Oil and Gas Summit and Exhibition in Lagos, they identified delay in regulatory approval and limited infrastructural growth and development as hindrances to the prospects in deepwater exploration.
In his presentation, Managing Director, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company, SNEPCo, Bayo Ojulari, who was represented by General Manager, Deepwater Exploration, Engineer Gbenga Adewuyi, said there is modern day preference for gas and the available new grounds are in the offshore.
He said: “There are delays in regulatory approval from when you find oil till when you eventually get approval. You spend an average of 12 years compared to that of Australia which is 3 to 7 years.
“There is limited infrastructural growth and development where we need to influence the policy makers on how to address the issue of logistics.”
Aside delay, he said the issue of insecurity has led to cost escalation, high risk projects and high capacity exposure.
“This requires a diverse and comprehensive skill set among the various economic blocks across sub-Saharan Africa. How much do we allow the flow among the different trade blocks if we want our investments to be sustainable?
“We don’t have a standardised fiscal policy in sub-Saharan Africa. We have ECOWAS, East African Community, and Southern African Development Community (SADC), but, there is no harmony. Our strength lies in understanding our environment. We need worldwide access to skilled workforce.
“We contribute less than 10 per cent of the world’s needs whereas we have the potentials for three times more. From 2005 to 2014, exploration activities show that we are actively looking for these resources,” he added.
On his part, Chairman, Petroleum Institute of East Africa and Managing Director, GalanaOil, Powell Maimba, said local content has to be looked at on the basis of competence rather than to score political gains.
“When people are looking for oil, they have no idea what will come up out of it. It is not about the big machines but how far you can go to explore the opportunities that the oil and gas provides. The role of the politician is not to determine economic activity.
“We should not frustrate mega projects because of local content. Local content has to be looked at on the basis of competence. Thus, it has to be redefined,” he added.