NIGERIA and Norway have reaffirmed their mutual commitment to institutional agreements to collaborate in deriving maximum value from deep offshore reserves, promoting local content and providing virile industry regulations for their petroleum sectors.
The agreements derived from a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Nigeria, and the Norwegian Petroleum Department (NPD) in 2003 aimed at optimising capacities in the deep water oil exploration and production.
At a meeting in Lagos teams from Nigeria and Norway resolved to activate the MOU to facilitate Nigeria's objectives in the upstream oil sector.
Director of Petroleum Resources, Nigeria, Dr Macauley Ofurhie, who hosted a ministerial delegation from Norway in his office, Lagos, said a project team drawing membership from DPR and NPD has been raised to ensure achievement of the goals of the collateral cooperation.
He said Nigeria's deep water basins hold prospects for world class reserves, adding that the collaboration became particularly important to Nigeria in view of the current trends towards deep water exploration and production where Norway has already established a reputation of operational efficiency.
He pointed out that the economies of both countries would in the foreseeable future anchore on deep offshore oil and gas operations given new discoveries in their deep offshore basins.
The agreements, he added, would afford Nigeria the opportunity to tap from the Norwegian experience in operations as it relates to deep offshore frontiers.
"Apart from tapping from the Norwegian relatively longer experience in the off shore terrain, the collaboration could also tap from the impressive experience of Norway on gas development as we strive to attain the objectives of government for gas flare out in 2008," Dr Ofurhie explained.
He added that the collaboration would, also enhance investment inflow from Norway to aid development of local capability in the services sector of the nation's oil industry in response to the need for urgent solutions to the current low indigenous participation in the Nigerian exploration and production sector.
He called on Norwegian companies to exploit investment opportunities in the nation's oil and gas export processing zones (EPZ) at Onne to establish fabrication facilities and other industry infrastructures in Nigeria and make use of local goods and services in line with the spirit of the MOU.
Dr Ofurhie described the visit by the Norwegian team as an indication of further potentials for the development of hydrocarbin industries of the two nations.
In his own speech, the Norwegian oil minister, Mr. Einer Steensaes, who was accompanied by the country's ambassador to Nigeria, His Excellency, Mr. Dag Nissen, and the Norwegian business community in Nigeria's oil and gas sector, pledged strong commitment to the bilateral agreements.
"We see a dear trend share governments desire to maximise the benefits from the oil gas activities, create employment and build a competent and capable local industry," he said.
He said Norwegian companies through their subsidiaries in Nigeria would be effective in using local inputs and developing local capacity and competence with the objective to encourage technology transfer programmes, train local staff, cooperate with the education system and stimulate research and development.