It is true, only in matter of time crude oil will be replaced with green renewable energy. Until then, Timipre Sylva is in for a real deal in transitioning Nigeria’s oil and gas industry from it colossal loss to reaping the benefits accrued to the sector as frontline player in oil and gas production.
The appointment of Chief Timipre Sylva as Minister of State for Petroleum Resources is a silver lining in the cloud of Nigeria’s oil and gas value chain. An appointment, time bound to revamp the oil & gas value chain for gains the country needs to build its overarching economy.
Given with key mandate to implement policies of the current administration to impinge energy sustainability in the oil and gas sector being the springboard for Nigeria achieving economies of scale. His first focus happens to be synergies with agencies within the value chain, e.g. NCDMB, NNPC, IOCs & industry sub-sectors. NCDMB a pivotal wing through which the government envision to develop local capacities in the Nigerian oil and gas value chain with an existing policy framework by the Board that guarantees a robust market share for the country’s oil and gas sub-sectors.
Sylva occupying such primed office is a blessing to all stakeholders and having the specialized know how of trends in the oil and gas industry is an opportunity best served for an apparent collaboration between the Ministry, agencies, stakeholders and state governments in the region to quickly galvanise strong synergy for their sustainable transitioning.
THE NIGER DELTA ON INTROSPECTION
The Niger Delta has been a global supplier of oil as far back pre-colonial times; first as palm oil distributor in market scale to western industrial complex and homes. Today, the region is yet a key player to be reckoned with in the global crude oil distribution with national export earnings scaling 40% of government revenue generation for Nigeria.
Though, much hitherto had not translate the overall well-being of the region for the donkey years it had played host. Rather, likened to the proverbial “devil’s excrement”. Oil has left behind bitter trails of despondency, dependency, pollution, infrastructural shortfall, unemployment, militancy, and youth restiveness.
Against this background, there is an indication his appointment has a goodwill to deliver in his respective assignment to stakeholders in the region as well.
It is unquestionable reality, we are in an era which sustainability is the parlance of the day. After fossil fuel is phased out, in the course of the global demand for renewable energy the Niger Delta stands a better chance to remain a significant contributor to the research and development of renewable energy. Howbeit, expectations are high from all quarters to see Sylva brings his industry experience to bear.
Chief Timipre Sylva who has been around the corridors of the industry since graduation, served his mandatory NYSC as administrative aide to Shell Petroleum and Development Company – SPDC, Warri, Delta State. Here he started building a spectacle to venture heights in the oil and gas industry.
After a brief stay in politics as lawmaker in 1991 in the Rivers State House of Assembly, before the military junta of Late Gen. Sani Abacha and having served in different administrative & advisory capacities in early 2000s reinforced in him qualities to take on any administrative task he would be called to. Chief Sylva’s next call landed him as Personal Assistant to the Minister of State Petroleum Resources (later Energy), HRM Dr. Edmund M. Daukoru, 2005-2007.
By 2007, Chief Sylva had developed broad shoulders to take on far sighted industry challenges when he opted for the most exalting office of his state and won a re-election as well up to 2012. Assuming office, he was faced with a daunting task; at that time the global market was gridlocked otherwise known as the “global financial meltdown”. A time that takes one with astute shrewdness to maneuver.
Sylva quickly set-up a team with proven credentials in finance and budget management that would stem the tides of the global financial crisis in his state. Despite the pang (devalued state revenue allocation) caused by global oil short fall in oil and gas production, Sylva’s Bayelsa came out strong.
Sylva’s Bayelsa was once again bedevilled with menaces; militancy, oil theft, kidnappings and sea piracy ravaging the labyrinths of the Niger Delta. It was a desperate time that required desperate measures. According to some commentators, Sylva in what appears to be an ad lib proposed to late President Yar’Adua an amnesty deal with angry youths of the Niger Delta which brought about the respite the oil industry enjoys till date. In successive events, Sylva became subject matter on daily tabloids and public discussions.
Despite heckling from detractors, President Buhari knowing his onion shopped for Timipre Sylva to man the petroleum ministry at a pivotal epoch in global oil share uncertainties. Sylva’s appointment as Minister of Petroleum Resources was a deliberate one by Mr. President to share ‘office space’ with him in fixing and sanitizing the oil and gas industry to curb losses as he best knows.
SYLVA’S DESIRED IMPACT / MILESTONES
Tipoff from the just concluded high-level session on “New Regional Perspectives: Critical Enablers to Africa’s Energy Transition” in the course of the ongoing 24th World Energy Congress held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Sylva unveiled the Buhari Administration far sighted vision which desires to bequeath a vibrant petroleum industry that shall guarantee long term strategic investments and prosperity for all Nigerians.
Sylva is on a trajectory that is time bound to deliver overarching results that would entrench a local content regime in the oil and gas sub-sectors. Hopefully this could be achieved through a historic collaboration with other sectors to complement development of the Nigeria Content Development and Management Board – NCDMB i.e (Nigerian Content 10-Year Roadmap) alongside strengthening infrastructure of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation – NNPC.
The NCDMB Roadmap promises a short, medium and long-term target to increase Nigerian Content performance from 28% to 70% by 2027 With clear linkages to other sectors of the economy. The 10-Year Roadmap will create 300,000 jobs in the oil and gas industry. On the other hand, the Minister of Petroleum Resources harps for linkages with critical industry players to cap losses in crude oil and gas production and as well reduce the cost of crude oil production. The policy direction of the Minister is envisioned through creative collaboration with NCDMB, NNPC, IOCs & other critical stakeholders in transitioning the Local Content in Nigeria’s oil and gas value chain to scale up optimal production to not less than 4 million barrels per day.
The Ministry of Petroleum Resources ensues commitment to revamp the industry with laws penchant for giving local industry actors a priority stake by getting the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill revisited by the 9th National Assembly.
Sylva shares a unity of purpose to expunge the creation of multiple regulators of local content in the country. Pressing for
“the need to harmonise the laws so that we don’t have too many with which we can regulate the industry.”
Another highpoint is in the development priority of the Federal Government which will solidify the industrialization drive of the country with focus on the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) pipeline project.
KEY PROGRESS INITIATIVES
To this end, it is strongly encouraged that Niger Delta stakeholders, especially Bayelsa State should close ranks and rally their full support for Chief Timipre Sylva to succeed his portfolio agenda which in turn would impact immensely the region’s infrastructure for a sustainable future.
Key critical Progress Initiatives needed are:
- Establishing constructive linkages between the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, NNPC, NCDMB, IOCs with other critical stakeholders; to build the country’s charitable assets that support sustainable community development.
- Stakeholders in the value chain to uphold this moment as a new dawn to stimulate new enterprises, resulting in additional job opportunities for its people.
- To enable a business-friendly environment that encourages his portfolio agenda to thrive.
- Shape a shared vision for people throughout the region to own up to the task given to their son by President Muhammad Buhari.
- Motivate emerging youth leaders across board to drive positive change that will not hamper the goodwill of Mr. President for the region and beyond and to also note that it is the collective responsibility of all to inspire community spirit and pride.
Written by Patrick Inengite
Sustainable Development Thinker