There is an ongoing transition in global energy dynamics. The world has commenced the journey for a post oil economy. The increasing efficiency and cost competitiveness of renewables are all indications that this journey has commenced. The question may then be asked; Is Nigeria ready? The fact is whether the country is prepared or not, the journey will eventually catch up with her.
The oil and gas industry is still very crucial for this journey. It is one of the few sectors in the country with the organisation, the resources and the expertise to provide the necessary framework for putting in place a post oil economy. Infact the whole discussion about diversification is hinged on the capacity of the oil and gas industry to be able to do this. But for that to happen, there has to be a fundamental shift in the business model that currently obtains in the Nigerian oil and gas industry. We need to move away from digging oil from the ground, putting the crude oil in ships and exporting to other countries.
The shift therefore involves a business model that prioritizes the mid and downstream sectors where the value in oil and gas is created. Human resource is the most critical factor in realising this objective. We cannot even over emphasize its importance knowing that oil has been lying dormant underground for millions of years, until humans were imbued with the capacity and competence to harness it. We can say the same thing for many other things.
So the question is are we ready to develop the necessary human resource to enable us proceed with this journey? There are quite a few challenges in this regard, partly because at the moment, the production of manpower not just for the current needs of the oil and gas industry but for the future is so haphazard. It’s as if all of us in the industry are operating in isolated silos, everybody doing his own thing without any linkage to a coordinated national framework. There is hardly a company or an agency in this country that does not have one kind of manpower development or the other. How can this relate to the larger needs of the nation and how does it relate to the fact that we want to commence this journey to a post oil economy.
A few things have happened to indicate that we are becoming aware of this challenge. The recent Executive Order by the President that, companies and operators in all sectors must patronize Nigerian manpower is a step in the right direction. I am sure the oil and gas industry is paying a lot of attention to this fact. Equally important is the fact that one of the pillars of the 7 Big wins is proper and coordinated manpower development. More recently I am gladdened by the fact that, the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) has come up with guidelines and regulations for all players in the oil and gas industry to go through the joint qualification system before resorting to other sources for their manpower needs. All these are indications that, we are heading in the right direction. Developing human capacity more than anything else is a must in this journey