Dr Anthony Enebeke Ofoma is the current General Secretary of the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE) and also the Account Manager of Halliburton (Landmark) Nigeria. He spoke with Orient Energy Review on the sideline of the Africa Oil Week in Cape Town, South Africa; on the need for increased exploration activities in Nigeria, while commenting on the spate of bombing of pipelines in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. Excerpts.
How are NAPE members coping with the fall and drop in this oil price?
Well it is really biting because the fall in oil price is a roller coaster effect. It has really hit our members; we have some of our members that have been retrenched or downsized or outrightly made redundant in these organisations due to this. We understand what is happening in the industry at the moment; oil prices are down, the total down turn in the industry and of course downsizing of members by companies, these are parts of problems we are being faced with. We have to tackle our realities based on these happenings in the industry.
However, this is really not good for our members, it poses a great danger for us, it is unfortunate but my thinking here is that it won’t last forever, it isn’t going to take too long before we get over this. I appeal to the companies to find a way to cushion these effects, maintain our members, perhaps maintain the experienced ones they have so that when things pick up they won’t have problem trying to hire experienced hands which might be double the price they would pay at that time.
What are some policies you think government can put in place to assist your members in their work places?
I know we have a lot of policies set out by government. We have some of the Acts that have been in existence for years. I think government in their wisdom should be able to invest more especially at this time to invest more in exploration. They need to find these reserves so that when things pick up they can go into drilling, invest more in exploration I understand that going into drilling now would be very expensive, but they should channel their energy into more exploration activities to discovery more reserves.
What do you have to say about the spate of pipeline vandalism that has been on-going in the Niger Delta?
Vandalism in the Niger Delta is sickening, it is dangerous. We have had people vandalise government property especially when it comes to public property like the pipelines, it is really not good, it causes inflation in the economy, sabotaging the efforts of government and the operators as well. Usually, once these pipelines are vandalised, one has to repair them, if they get busted and subsequently result to fire outbreaks, we would have to put off the fire, purchase another one and then lay it again with another round of labour and payment. So it is like doing a double job for something we have done before, it encroaches into our finances especially our revenue in the country. So I think invariably the vandalism in the Niger Delta is causing us untold hardship and I want to appeal to the youths in the country to look at this from a different perspective, vandalism of pipeline is not the solution; constructive discussion with the government can see us through. We have to dialogue that is why we are human beings. When we destroy these properties, let’s realise that this is our property, it is not only for the government and when we say government who is government; it is you and I. So when we destroy these pipelines we are invariably destroying our own collective wealth. So I would appeal them to discontinue these acts, allow things to move and then engage government on constructive discussions rather than taking laws into their hands.