Oil and Gas industry experts have highlighted collaboration and innovation as the fundamental tools required to the address the impacts of COVID-19 on the sector. This was made known at the oil and gas webinar organised by The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on Tuesday, 20 October 2020 themed, “Perspectives of Operators and Industry Experts Post-COVID-19”.
Speaking at the event, the Chief Executive Officer, NSE, Mr. Oscar N. Onyema, OON stated, “The oil & gas sector remains arguably one the most critical sectors to the Nigerian economy. The challenges within the sector, however, present a backdrop for future opportunities for governments, regulators and operators to adopt innovation across existing verticals and pivot towards growth areas. The NSE on its part continues to provide a platform to access a global pool of capital, with Issuers operating in the Oil and Gas Sector raising over ₦400Bn across several asset classes in recent years. We continue to collaborate with the relevant stakeholders to provide the appropriate framework supporting diversification towards renewable energy and we are also well positioned to facilitate needed capital formation.”
On his part, the Honourable Minister for State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Marlin Sylva, congratulated the leadership of The Exchange for organising a timely event and emphasized the need for innovation in the industry. Chief Sylva stated, “The volatility in the energy industry aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic leading to the progressive decline in crude oil price in 2020 has made it unavoidable for Nigerian industry players to seek innovative solutions or be forced by the tide to abdicate the stage for more resilient players who are willing and able to do things differently.”
In delivering his goodwill message, the Group Managing Director, Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mallam Mele Kolo Kyari represented by the Group General Manager Finance, NNPC, Mrs. Rose N. Eshiett, highlighted the impact of the twin shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic and low crude oil prices on the Nigerian economy. In proffering solutions, she stated, “To reposition the oil and gas industry for sustainability post COVID, there must be collaboration across different dimensions: Government, industry players and particularly with the host community. Innovation will also play a crucial role in managing cost, improving efficiency and delivering the required cash flow for reinvestment and expansion.”
Setting the stage for discussions, the Head, Oil & Gas Coverage, Renaissance Capital UK, Mr. Alex Burgansky, delved into the global landscape for the industry and projected an average oil price of $50/bbl over the next five years. This opened the floor for a fireside chat between Energy expert, Ms. Rolake Akinkugbe Filani and the President, Nigerian Gas Association, Ms. Audrey Joe-Ezigbo, who reiterated that partnerships and collaboration will underpin any success that the oil and gas industry will enjoy going forward. Ms. Joe-Ezigbo went on to state that, “the capital market provides viable opportunities for funding and players within the sector are certainly open to the discussion of structuring the right type of financing the industry needs.”
Speaking on the impact of COVID-19 and oil volatility on operations, the first panel session moderated by Ms. Akinkugbe Filani featured, CEO, Seplat, Mr. Roger Brown represented by the CFO/Executive Director, Seplat, Mr. Emeka Onwuka and CEO, Niger Delta Exploration and Production Plc, Dr Layi Fatona who spoke on the opportunities for diversification in the sector. Also in this panel, the Chief Investment Officer, Global Energy, International Finance Corporation (IFC), Mr. Olivier Mussat, President Association of Issuing Houses of Nigeria/ CEO Vetiva, Mr. Chuka Eseka, and Co-founder/ Managing Director Argentil Capital Partners, Mr. Olumide Ogunfowora, spoke extensively on the funding options available for oil and gas players.
The second panel session centred around the deregulation of the industry; outlook, challenges, and opportunities; as well as funding dynamics, constraints and capital raise for long-term growth. Moderated by Partner and Energy Industry Leader for West Africa, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Mr. Pedro Omontuemhen, the session featured the Deputy Director, Securities and Investment Services, Securities and Exchange Commission, Mr. Abdulkadir Abbas; CEO, Ardova Plc, Mr. Olumide Adeosun; CEO Eterna Plc, (Rtd), Mr. Mahmud Tukur; CEO Axxela Group, Mr. Bolaji Osunsanya represented by CFO, Axxela Group, Mr. Timothy Ononiwu; Co-Founder/Partner, Verod Capital, Mr. Eric Idiahi; and CEO Stanbic IBTC Capital, Mr. Funso Akere.
The Exchange continues to provide a platform for engagement across various industries through its series of webinars. Stakeholders can look forward to other enlightening sessions this week with the FinTech webinar and Market Data Workshop scheduled to hold on Thursday, 22 October 2020 and Friday, 23 October 2020 respectively.