1.It is my pleasure to be here today at this Opening Ceremony of the 35th Annual International Conference and Exhibition of the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE). The theme of the conference, ‘A Roadmap for Nigeria’s Oil and Gas Industry in a Diversifying Economy’ is very timely, particularly at this period of gradual economic recovery from recession. One of the great lessons of the recession, and one which we must not lose sight of at this time of renewed optimism, is that we must not fall back into the complacency that has characterised our chequered relationship with oil.

2.For over 40 years, NAPE has been at the forefront of the study and practice of petroleum geosciences in Nigeria, working for the advancement of professional, technical and social interactions between geoscientists in the upstream sector, in order to meet the needs of the global energy industry. This work has been crucial to the formulation of government policy initiatives and programmes over the years, especially in the areas of: Local Content, Marginal Field, Divestment and Acquisitions and Licensing Round.

3.I have looked at the conference programme and I note that the sub-themes include: Nigerian Oil and Gas Business Environment in a Diversifying Economy; The Evolving Global Energy Mix and How Nigeria Can Participate For Growth and Development; and, Maximising Productions and Profitability Through Innovative Cost Effective Reservoir Management Strategies. Without doubt, this is a veritable platform for sharing best practices and knowledge with the largest gathering of geoscientists in sub-Sahara Africa.

4.As we all know, the interest of the African continent and the larger world in oil, never wanes. This comes as no surprise, given that oil is the driver of a multi-billion opportunity for investment of economic growth. Oil remains the largest source of energy in Africa, and is central to the lives of millions of people who rely on it daily for lighting, heating, cooking, and transportation – and a myriad other direct and indirect uses. In a city such as Lagos, the nearest we have in Nigeria to the dream of the megacity and a major player in ever increasing rural-to-urban flows, the population is closing in on the 20 million mark. The demand for energy is therefore huge, and the need must be met.

5.We in the National Assembly hold as sacred the duty to make laws that impact on the well-being of Nigerians, as we seek to open up opportunities in the oil and gas sector. For too long, the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) could not be passed, due to the overbearing influence exerted on the industry by special interests and – it must be said – a lack of political will.

6.I am happy to note that we have now crossed the rubicon, with the splitting of the PIB into four parts, namely: Petroleum Industry Governance Bill; Petroleum Industry Administration Bill; Petroleum Industry Fiscal Bill; and the Petroleum Host Community Bill.

7.The 8th Senate broke the PIB jinx with the passage of the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill. The three other components of the Bill are at Committee Stage and we are resolute in our commitment to their passage, in recognition of the far-reaching impact they will have on our economy in this period of recovery, and into the future.

8.The key objectives of the PIB include the creation of conducive business environment for petroleum operations, in order to enhance the exploration and exploitation of petroleum resources in Nigeria for the benefit of the Nigerian people; and to optimize domestic gas supplies, particularly for power generation and industrial development.

9.The PIB also aims to establish a progressive fiscal framework that encourages greater investment in the Petroleum Industry while optimizing revenues accruing to government, to deregulate and liberalise the downstream sector, promote transparency and openness in the administration of the sector, as well as promoting local content through an efficient and effective regulatory framework.

10.On the whole, the PIB introduces a number of positive developments, such as a framework for addressing host community concerns, promotion of local content, removal of minimum tax as well as removal of other restrictions on capital allowances claimable, and tax deduction for abandonment provision.

11.We firmly believe that the ultimate objective of any oil producing country is to control and operate all phases of its industry. This will translate into massive reduction in unemployment while ensuring rapid development arising from increased revenue to the government’s treasury as a result of local production.

12.The opportunities for investment in the oil and gas sector is immense, particularly due to the ever growing population and the high demand for petroleum products including petrol, diesel, gas and kerosene by all classes of the Nigerians. A forward thinking investor like Aliko Dangote is setting up a refinery that will boost the country’s foreign investment when it finally comes onstream. When completed, the refinery is expected to save billions of dollars foreign exchange on petroleum products and would crash the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), because by then, the product would be refined inside our borders. This is definitely something the average Nigerian can cheer about. We encourage more investors to tap into the unique opportunities in the sector.

13.We are working assiduously in the National Assembly to put in place those policies that make for a robust and investment friendly atmosphere – as well as enhancing the kind of very crucial work that NAPE does. We sincerely believe that the passage of the PIB will go a long way in helping to reshape the oil and gas industry for a truly diversified economic future.

14.I thank the organisers of this 35th Annual Conference. It is my hope that the outcomes of the various sessions will further set us along the road to true diversification, so that we can deliver the true gains of economic recovery to Nigerians.

15.Thank you for listening. I wish you a successful annual conference and exhibition.


Abubakar Bukola Saraki MBBS CON (pronunciationⓘ; born on 19 December 1962) is a Nigerian politician who served as the 13th president of the Nigerian Senate from 2015 to 2019.[1][2] He previously served as the governor of Kwara State from 2003 to 2011; and was elected to the Senate in 2011, under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), representing the Kwara Central Senatorial District, and then re-elected in the 2015 general elections