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Some experts in the energy business have charged prospective investors in the Nigerian Oil and Gas sector to build capacity through collaborations with industry professionals and experts as a means to reaping long-term benefits on their investments.

This was the highlight of the discussion at the inaugural edition of the Nigerian Navy Secondary School Alumni Thought Leadership Series held recently in Lagos.

The event was themed ‘The Energy Business in Nigeria.’

While giving the opening address, Ladipo Adedeji, a member of the Graduating Class of ‘93, said the Thought Leadership Series was inaugurated as part of efforts to improve discussions towards actionable steps for the vision behind the independence of Nigeria.

“For over 37 years, the Nigerian Navy Secondary Schools have raised outstanding leaders in every sphere of society,” Mr Adedeji said.

“As alumni of the institution, we hope that the outcomes from the Thought Leadership Series serve to fulfil part of our responsibilities in nurturing leaders in Nigeria and harnessing the collective successes towards a course for the next generation.”

The alumni’s president, Gboyega Apata, opened with a keynote speech on the vision of the series.

He noted that when a country places a premium on its people and ideas as assets, it sets a path to growth and development at a mercurial pace. He also said the series aims at linking intellectualism with pragmatic solutions worthy of advisory note in policymaking and investment decisions.

Panel guest speakers included Tayo Ogunbanjo, Femi Odusote, and Dipo Olasebikan. They are players in the energy sector and spoke to the opportunities available.

Mr Ogunbanjo said that while oil and gas contribute less than 20 per cent of the national gross domestic product, it provides over 90 per cent of foreign exchange earnings. Recent key developments provide increasing opportunities for local participation, he said, including the current Local Content Policy, centralization of procurement tenders through NIPEX (Nigerian Petroleum Exchange), swift permits and licensing through DPR, and upcoming Petroleum Industry Bill and Nigeria Gas Flare Commercialisation Programmes.

According to Mr Odusote, Nigeria needs to make the transition to a gas economy for development and economic growth by unlocking the potentials in that space. He advocated for a focus on developing gas infrastructure as well as the support of gas to power projects.

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Mr Olasebikan emphasised the need for specialisations and competence when applying for opportunities in the energy industry. He spoke on the need for proper documentation and licensing especially seeking the partnerships or knowledge of subject matter experts when putting forth bids and investments. He described the need to go beyond a briefcase mentality, in which there is little or no depth capacity in the portfolio of ‘oil and gas” companies. This, he said, will ensure participants have room to reap long term benefits of their investments.

Femi Ogunseinde, an entrepreneur in the oil, gas and power sector. said while environmental concerns and the emergence of the digital era are driving strategies and investment decisions on a global scale, it is expected that in developing nations with huge populations, the demand for lower-cost fossil fuels will continue to be strong.

“Accordingly, the energy mix will continue to include fossil fuels for the foreseeable future.”

Nonso Azazi, the public relations officer of the executive committee (’96), closed the session by thanking the online and physical attendees for the thought-provoking questions and robustness of the discourse. She promised to document the collation of ideas as a body of work to interested parties and its dissemination to relevant government units in the near future.

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