The Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva; the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mallam Mele Kyari; and the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Engr. Simbi Wabote, have commended Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc for its sterling leadership s the industry’s poster child and breathtaking impacts on the growth of the country’s oil and gas development in the past decade.
Speaking at the maiden edition of SEPLAT Energy Summit held virtually on Thursday, the trio took turns to celebrate what they described as SEPLAT's pacesetting role in the development of the country’s oil and gas development in the past decade. Listed on both Nigerian and London stock exchanges, SEPLAT is Nigerian leading independent indigenous Nigerian energy company.
Sylva, who opened the summit themed ‘Business Sustainability and Strategic Leadership in Africa’ recalled the emergence of SEPLAT 10 years ago and declared that the company has demonstrated the capacity to drive the innovation and expertise required for local content development.
He said that SEPLAT’s investment in gas development aligns with the National Gas Expansion Programme (NGEP), adding that the government has declared 2020 as “the year of gas”. He stated that the country has sufficient gas reserve to meet its energy need if the efficient utilisation and monetisation template of companies like Seplat is adopted by others.
“On January 16, we inaugurated an Inter-agency Committee saddled with the responsibility of coordinating our concerted efforts to ensure the penetration of domestic utilisation of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), encourage auto LPG, compressed natural gas and LPG for the domestic market. This will drastically reduce the massive outflow of the nation’s foreign exchange currently being expended in the importation of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS),” the minister said.
Kyari, who lamented that Nigeria is a net importer of petroleum products, announced that SEPLAT is collaborating with NNPC “to create a splitter plant in short term” to address the refining challenge facing the country.
“There are other private initiatives. As we know, there are several licenses granted by the Federal Government for people to construct refineries, but they can’t do this because of the clear issue around the market structure. But thankfully, we have transited out of the regulated petroleum market into a deregulated market,” said the NNPC boss.
Speaking during a panel session dubbed ‘The impact of Global Energy Transition on African Economies’, Wabote congratulated Seplat for surviving till its 10th anniversary, saying that the crop of the Board members, management and staff has contributed immensely to the feat. He added: “Seplat is a poster child of local content development in Nigeria. I want to congratulate its chairman, Dr. ABC Orjiako for having been steadfast to steer the ship to what we have today.”
Earlier, in his welcome remarks, SEPLAT Chairman, Dr. ABC Orjiako declared that the event would be an annual platform for the company to continue to shape the narrative on relevant issues in the energy sector. He noted that at inception, Seplat became a trail blazer for indigenous participation in the oil and gas sector in Nigeria and had since recorded historic accomplishments in various aspects of its business. “We have grown our operations, our reserves and became the first company to be listed on both the Nigeria and London Stock Exchange” Dr. Orjiako stated.
The Founding and outgoing SEPLAT CEO, Mr. Austin Avuru recalled the company’s journey from inception and how the company successfully surmounted the various challenges to become Nigeria’s leading independent. Avuru attributed the company’s success to its passionate commitment to the highest standards of corporate governance standards as well as an unwavering focus on sustainable value creation for stakeholders. “We are very strong on corporate governance, structure and zerotolerance for unethical practices” Avuru affirmed.
SEPLAT’s new CEO, Mr. Roger Brown described the summit as crucial platform to debate challenges and solutions for the transition to a future sustainable energy system in Africa. He also expressed optimism at the future prospects of Seplat despite prevailing challenges in the operating environment, adding that: “We are still a company that is looking forward to very big strides and we are looking to the future to becoming an energy company delivering best practices globally as well as delivering value to our customers and all our stakeholders.”