Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva; Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mallam Mele Kyari; and Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Engr. Simbi Wabote, on Thursday, commended the management of Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc for its leadership role as a poster child of the nation’s oil and gas industry development over the past decade.
The trio, who spoke at the maiden edition of the SEPLAT Energy Summit, held virtually, each celebrated what they described as its pacesetting role as Nigerian leading independent indigenous Nigerian energy company.
Opening the summit themed ‘Business Sustainability and Strategic Leadership in Africa,’ Sylva recalled the emergence of Seplat 10 years ago, declaring that the company has demonstrated the capacity to drive the innovation and expertise required for local content development.
He said the company’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.”
Nigeria, the Minister of State added, 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.
On his part, Kyari lamented the situation where Nigeria remains a net importer of petroleum products, announcing 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,” he stressed.
Also contributing to the panel session dubbed ‘The impact of Global Energy Transition on African Economies,’ Wabote congratulated Seplat for surviving till its 10th anniversary, acknowledging the quality of the board, management and staff that has enabled her achieve the feat.
“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,” he stressed
Speaking earlier in his welcome remarks, Dr. Bryant 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 recalled 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,” the chairman added.
The company’s founding and immediate past CEO, Austin Avuru recalled the company’s journey from inception and how it successfully surmounted various challenges to become Nigeria’s leading independent.
He attributed Seplat’s success to the passionate commitment by its board and management to the highest corporate governance standards, besides an unwavering focus on sustainable value creation for stakeholders.
“We are very strong on corporate governance, structure and zero tolerance for unethical practices” Avuru affirmed.
Also speaking, Seplat’s new CEO, Roger Brown said the summit is a crucial platform to debate challenges and solutions for the transition to a future sustainable energy system in Africa. He also expressed optimism about the future of Seplat, despite the prevailing challenges in the operating environment.
“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,” he stressed.
Photo caption: L-R: Austin Avuru. outgoing CEO, SEPLAT; Dr. ABC Orjiako, Chairman, SEPLAT; Mr. Basil Omiyi, Independent Non-Executive Director, SEPLAT; and Mr. Roger Brown, incoming CEO, SEPLAT, during the inaugural edition of the company’s annual Energy Summit as a virtual event … on Thursday.”