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Exclusive Interview: Enabling environment key to collaborative efforts in oil, gas sector – OGTAN President

Enabling environment key to collaborative efforts in oil, gas sector- Afe Mayowa

Afe Mayowa, president, Oil and Gas Trainers Association of Nigeria, (OGTAN) and chief executive officer, Danvic Petroleum International Corporation in this interview during the 2018 Nigerian Oil and Gas Conference, in Abuja speaks on the need for an enabling environment to aid collaborative efforts in the nation’s oil and gas industry.

Collaborative roles between government agencies as regards research and development, can we say the Nigerian oil and gas industry has come of age in terms of collaboration?

There is still a lot of work to be done although we are improving. After 50 years, we suddenly woke up that there needs to be. I think after 50 years of exploration and oil production business, we should be able to champion in Africa.

Because we are not making much progress is why we have some of these agitations and that was what led to the holistic preparation of the PIB that we are still hoping will see the light of the day.

I think we need to put more collaborative efforts in place in the universities and the oil and gas industry. For example, there is nothing wrong in the University of Ibadan having a project sponsored by chevron and they put in about 10 PhD candidates to sit on those projects while chevron is relying on the work.

They pump money into those projects and they are getting results which are also advancing education and they are getting result. This is the kind of collaboration we really want to see.

But as at today, we are not seeing too much of that

In the developed world, you see companies investing in departments who have personnel; doctoral students and they devoted their time in carrying out specific research that could help the oil and gas industry.

This is because they are in business to make money but these universities are in the process of adding knowledge. So they help the people who want to go into research and add to knowledge which they also benefit from.

This is because if you improve technology, a lot of things will be easy for the oil company. There is a lot of benefit in inter agency collaboration. This is to forestall duplication of efforts.

Earlier, a speaker advocated for a clear cut job description for the boards and agencies of government to forestall duplicity of functions, what’s your take?

I subscribe to that because as at now, the PTDF is involved in training and the NCDMB is also involved in training. In fact they can even be sponsoring the same project in the same university.

But if we know that research and development is essentially for Petroleum Training Institute in Warri, Scholarship is for PTDF and training is for Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, (NCDMB), it will make everyone focused.

There’s a lot of benefit in that.

So, what are some of the collaborative efforts you suggest for government to take?

Government is to ensure that you have an enabling environment for every operation to be useful. Chevron cannot collaborate with the University of Ibadan if the environment for chevron to do their business is not there.

There should be some tax concession to companies that are sponsoring research in universities. There should be some form of tax holiday.

For instance in developed nations, if you sponsor anything charity, what they do is that the money is tax free. It encourages you to do more because you know that you will get some of the things that you are doing tax-free.

An enabling environment is a key and the government should be able to provide it

What is OGTAN doing in terms of ensuring the success of the collaboration?

Recently, we had an event that we call education summit where we brought stakeholders together. Some of these things we can start by talking. We have a communiqué we have developed which we are giving to government, ministry of education and everyone concerned.

We are having technical business meetings. We are creating platforms for people to be able to express themselves.

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