Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State has challenged multinational oil companies to show more commitment to capacity development and technology transfer in their course of operations in the country.
Mr Emmanuel spoke at the opening of the 2017 Nigeria Oil and Gas Opportunity Fair tagged “Advancing Indigenous Participation in the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry For National Development,” held at the Le Meridien Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort, Uyo,
The governor who lamented the absence of standard fabrication companies in the entire Niger Delta region, said oil companies have over the years paid lip service to capacity building in the oil and gas sector in the country.
He suggested the need for the companies to show sincerity in partnering with governors in the region to set up skills development centers that can help in technology transfer to meet the content demands in the industry, rather than frequent travels abroad for exposure to such facilities.
The Governor appealed for approval to access the Nigerian Content Development Fund, reasoning that this was important in view of the impending partnership of the state with some European firms for a skill development center, that will not just provide oil and gas training, but also provide medium engineering training.
Emmanuel, a business and financial management expert advised oil companies to always sign memoranda of understanding with host communities and also engage in corporate social responsibilities that will give their host communities a sense of belonging and partnership in their activities.
He further made a case for the relocation of offices of oil companies to their operational base, assuring that the state can guarantee their security, peace, and ambience to operate comfortably.
“We have more than 13 oil companies and not even one office of the companies is located in the state. Our people are very business conscious and know the critical success factors that organisations need, and those things are present here.”
Emmanuel, who thanked the Nigeria Content and Development Board for choosing to site the fair in Akwa Ibom, reiterated the resolve of his government to support the annual hosting of the event in the State.
“We know three things that can always bring you here, and be rest assured that we can provide these things which include security, transparent legislation and reliable infrastructure.”
He expressed joy over the huge turnout of participants, saying it was unprecedented to have such a large participation of Chief Executives and board members of major international oil companies attending a summit without being represented.
He said the participation connotes passion, sincerity and commitment by the stakeholders towards an effective local content collaboration in the country.
Earlier, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Dr Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu indicated that the fair was organised to showcase opportunities in the upstream, mainstream and downstream sectors of the oil and gas Industry.
He commended the development strides in the state stating that Governor Emmanuel is committed to the comprehensive development of the state.
The Secretary Local Content and Monitoring Board Engr. Simbi Wabote, said that the choice of Akwa Ibom for the maiden edition of the fair is appropriate considering the fact that the state is the largest producer of oil in the country.
He noted that the fair would provide opportunity for multinational companies to link up and utilize opportunities in the oil and gas Industry as well as provide avenue for the Nigerian government to strategize towards exploiting available opportunities in the oil and gas Industry.
Other speakers at the event including Senator Bassey Albert, House of Representatives member Mr Emmanuel Ekon and Former Minister of Housing Chief Ndueso Essien, called for integration and empowerment of the host communities.
Senator Bassey Albert said that the Senate will ensure the passage of Petroleum Industry Bill as well as provide adequate legislation for the implementation of the Local content law.
At the fair, Governor Emmanuel in company of Dr Ibe Kachikwu were conducted round the exhibition stands mounted by the participating oil and gas Industry.