Olorogun Theo Mukoro (Chairman/CEO) and Joan Gibson
Olorogun Theo Mukoro (Chairman/CEO) and Joan Gibson
Reliant Stadium - part of the Reliant Park venue for OTC
Reliant Stadium - part of the Reliant Park venue for OTC
Chris Roberts (Managing Director)
Chris Roberts (Managing Director)
Olorogun Theo Mukoro scoring at indoor gulf
Olorogun Theo Mukoro scoring at indoor gulf
Chris Roberts and Joan Gibson
Chris Roberts and Joan Gibson

Perspectives from OTC 2008, implications for the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry

Author: Chris Roberts MD Yomatech Nigeria Ltd.

The Offshore Technology Conference held in Houston every year offers an opportunity for industry professionals to come together and evaluate the contemporary challenges and directional opportunities that influence and shape the industry.

Founded in 1969, the Offshore Technology Conference is the world's foremost event for the development of offshore resources in the fields of drilling, exploration, production and environmental protection. OTC is held annually at Reliant Park in Houston.

The OTC is where offshore energy professionals come to learn about innovative approaches to overcoming technical challenges as we drill in deeper waters. Technology will be crucial to delivering affordable and sustainable energy for the future. OTC offers the chance to share knowledge about getting resources in harsher and more extreme conditions, and to discuss important industry issues,? Don Vardeman, 2008 OTC chairman.
Attendance at the 2008 Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) reached 75,092, a 26-year high, as energy professionals from 110 countries met to learn about the latest technology to find and produce offshore oil and natural gas resources. The world's largest offshore event was held May 5-8 at Reliant Park in Houston.
Attendance increased 11 percent from 2007. With more than one-half million square feet of exhibition area, the show included 2,500 companies from more than 35 countries in an area the size of 13 football fields.
The fan fare that characterized this years event was no doubt inclusive of the Nigerian presence at the event and as usual featured Nigerian Companies who were both Oil and Gas related and non related. All showcasing their company booths at the Nigerian stand hosted by PETAN.
After a comprehensive tour of the exhibitions which were categorized country by country each displaying varied range of products and services provided by the indigenous public and private enterprises domiciled in each of the specific country, I observed that countries like Norway, Uk Germany, and China had clearly advanced technologically to flexibly nurture the demands of the industry, and also projected capabilities that were evidenced in the locally manufactured products they had on their display list and exhibition booths.
From varied types of valves, pumps, drilling platforms, seismic data machines, bolts and nuts, shacles, fabricated supports, calibration instruments, pollution remediation equipments, specialized project execution teams, professional certification specialists, etc were all on display in various country stands and exhibition booths. a clear evidence of the consistent growth of local capacities domiciled in these countries to compete favorably in the blossoming Global Oil and Gas Market.
On getting to the Nigerian stand which was located in an isolated part of the OTC flurry of activities, it was a tale of sorts, at a glance any insightful visitor could immediately discern the level and state of indigenous capacity and professionalism associated with the Nigerian Oil and Gas industry, the Nigerian stand was basically populated by Banks and Insurance companies, the PTDF also had a stand and a few other service providers like Willbros were also present at the Nigerian section.
I approached the PTDF counter and met a guy with some Northern accent I asked him a couple of questions regarding the intentions of the PTDF for exhibiting and his responses did not make any sense, he immediately went on the defensive by asking me which company I came from and that the PTDF can partner with me to train Nigerian Youths in My company I was astonished because apparently this PTDF guy was expecting me to believe that all the resources and estacodes were spent for him to come to Houston and look for Nigerian youths that companies the PTDF will train, this was the beginning of the ridicule.
Of course the Bankers and insurance brokers were in the majority with a quick hurry to pull out their complimentary cards and hand over to any prospective borrower who might happen to be a first rate oil industry contract persona with prospects for project financing and invoice discounts, also in the majority of Nigerian attendees were individuals with various backgrounds who had come to the conference with intentions of soliciting for agent status from foreign based companies, and maybe solicit some side deals where obtainable or if possible
Also in the list of our esteemed Nigerian attendees were politicians, retired Nigerian multinational workers, serving and retired NNPC top officials including Engineer Funsho Kupolokun who was spotted strolling around casually at the conference, exchanging pleasantries and jokes from bankers one of the jokes thrown at him in my presence was thus ?Good day Sir, retired but not tired ?and our Ex GMD of NNPC roars in absolute laughter enjoying the tantrums as if all is well.
The climax of the Events was the Nigerian Luncheon which was held on Thursday the 8th of May 2008, the topic was exploring investment opportunities in the Nigerian Oil and Gas sector, the DPR boss Tony Chukwueke stood in for The Minister of Energy Mr. Odusina who had been previously lambasted the day before on a Guardian online edition monitored from Houston, of having hurriedly discharged from an interactive forum for his inability to adequately deliver verbal recollections of statistical data that captures the actualities of our industry estimates.
At the luncheon the DPR boss started his presentation by running through the geographical divides that cover Nigeria?s Oil rich minerals, and stunned Nigerians like me when he told the international audience that Nigeria?s Local content policy was no longer local content of Nigerian ownership but local content of domiciliation, which aims at attracting foreign company construction and fabrication of materials in-country
This assertion was contradictory to what is known to have being the engine drivers of change in Oil rich countries like Venezuela and Norway who have pursued private sector and indigenous ownership, and in-country domiciliation activities and achieved lofty heights. As was evident in the OTC stands, and of which thousands of Nigerian individuals were clamoring and seeking for partnership attention from.

The DPR boss also went ahead to declare that our National Oil Company the NNPC had from inception never been an operator but a regulator which relies on royalties paid from the PSC (production sharing contracts} of the Multi National E&P (Exploration and Production} Companies. The multiplication of various regulator and royalty collection national agencies and parastatals has become a clog in the wheel of progress and has further stultified the growth of the industry in Nigeria. He also admitted that political interference and instability was a major retrogressing factor in the growth of the sector.
He also admonished foreign investors not to invest in marginal fields as it was not the best option, and promised that a variety of bills were awaiting passage in the National Assembly that will see to the creation of new agencies and parastatls within the National carrier for improved efficiency and would see operators being able to source for improved funding from the capital market.
The entire presentation further evidenced the stalemate position of our Oil and Gas industry which is blogged by corruption and inconsistent processes as well as dysfunctional institutions that have remained stagnated as rent collectors and self styled regulators ,without any strategic plan and investment in the real driving sectors of capability building that will inch towards full nationalization and increased local participation in crucial aspects, that can also guarantee majority internal control of the Nigerian Oil and Gas industry. It is still very sad that political rather than professional appointments have remained the trend in appointing public officials that will run the industry and drive governments policy in that regards, The country have become entrapped with the syndrome of? whatever you give me I will take mentality?. This is really sad.
The lessons and implications learnt from a pragmatic assessment of this years OTC is a cause for sober reflections and should really spring into our conscience as a point of departure to take a second look at what needs to be urgently done to kick-start a new Wave of Change which accidentally happens to be the theme of this years OTC.
We need to wake up and get into the big league as major players with an appetite for technological and productive inclinations and embrace the new Global trends that can guarantee our future as credible players in the industry. And discontinue the trend of using the OTC as a jamboree relevant only for the estacode derivable advantages, and mediocre self seeking interests that will spare Nigeria the yearly ridicule.

The time for change is now.