PIB WILL ADVANCE INDIGENOUS COMPANIES IN THE OIL & GAS INDUSTRY
The Managing Director of Oando Plc, Mr. Wale Tinubu, has said the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) would become a necessary instrument for the advancement of indigenous companies in the oil and gas industry. Tinubu, while pointing out that the PIB would improve the general efficiency of the sector as well as boost local content participation in the industry, said it was designed in part to increase Nigeria’s overall oil production capacity from 2.5 million barrels per day to four million by boosting output in its little-developed swampy coastal areas. He said: “The country is at the brink of passing a law that will revolutionalise the way and manner businesses have been done in the oil and gas industry over the last thirty years, surely we need to prepare for it in way that ensures that all stakeholders are carried along. “So that when it goes through the legislative process there will be positive alignment of all stakeholders. So, the issue for the industry is to take stock, recalibrate and put forward a proposal that is acceptable to all. This can only happen by having stakeholder involvement. “To a large extent the success of Oando’s diversification and expansion into the upstream sector has now positioned the company for the benefits of emerging legislation. Our uniqueness comes from doing things right, creating the right business opportunities, increasing shareholder value, creating job opportunities, meeting our obligations to government by paying our taxes. “First, having a national oil company that will be professionally run is a big step in the right direction. There is a lot of resources that is currently vested on NNPC which is not being optimised because it’s working as a government entity as opposed to a private sector or commercialized entity. In many ways the private entities can leverage on a very strong commercially driven national oil company to grow the industry such as Brazil’s Petrobras. “Secondly, we would have indigenous fiscal terms, which in other words are better tax rates when we develop assets. This is because indigenous companies need to be encouraged to being able to create an operating platform that can actually compete effectively. “Thirdly, it’s clear in the PIB that there should be preference in bid rounds and divestment for indigenous participation. It allows the indigenous firms to participate actively in the sale of assets in upstream industry of their own country and it is something we need to support,” he stressed. He said that Oando had a deliberate strategy to build the company in such a way that it would evolve as the partner of choice in the oil and gas industry to International Oil Companies (IOCs) and even other indigenous companies. He said that the company had a hallmark of execution of discipline and respect for the sanctity of contracts and agreements, adding that it planned to produce100,000 barrels per day production with two production reserves of 300 million barrels by 2015. Tinubu said: “We would also develop 20,000 barrels per day out of that plan by organic growth which is effectively using our current leases and extending their productions rates. “So in the near term we would have double our current production rates within six months. We already have certain projects that are being implemented and thereafter we should experience a big leap from acquisitions,” he stated. He said that Oando was a socially responsible corporate organization, pointing out that it had an objective to transform lives in the communities of its operation through education and economic empowerment with projects that would be innovative and greater impact. In 2007, Oando initiated the “Adopt-A-School” programme, a CSR initiative that supported the development of selected public-owned primary schools through the renovation of facilities, teacher capacity building, provision of educational resources and supporting libraries. Oando had also been actively involved in various annual scholarship awards with a view to promoting education for youths in Nigeria, adding that its CSR team had also embarked on a number of special projects based on the social needs of the communities such as construction of town halls, Information Technology centers, provision of educational facilities, and the provision of water and sanitation facilities to schools and communities. Tinubu stressed: “Most importantly, Oando PLC’s community elations strategy is hinged on the cardinal principle of improving the quality of life, and being catalyst for development and social change within and beyond the company’s areas of operation. In doing so, Oando Plc ensures that it engages with each community based on its uniqueness and intricacies. “In line with the global paradigm shift to sustainable development, we believe in the need to empower individuals within communities to be financially stable and gainfully employed. To this end, Oando has instituted a policy of recruiting skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled labour from its host communities to fill suitable positions. “To do more, we set up the Oando Foundation in 2011 to carry forward the Group’s desire to further contribute to societal development over and above the implementation of community projects directly related to the company’s core business operations,” he stressed.