Engr. Wabote made the statement during the flag-off of the NCDMB Research and Development Fair and Conference Roadshow before the Hon. Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, His Excellency, Chief Timipre Sylva in Abuja on Tuesday, March 17, 2020.
The Executive Secretary who enumerated the achievements of the maiden edition of the R&D Fair in 2017, explained that the Board intends to develop an R&D specialized centre in Yenagoa with a model to convert ideas to products. He also dropped the hint that the Board is providing leadership in its drive for research development by launching a $50million R&D intervention fund to enhance the role of R&D in developing local content and for other stakeholders to contribute to the fund as most countries who have invested in R&D are optimal in their GDP.
In his response, the Hon. Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva commended the Board for the R&D initiative which according to him, is a good start and promised to be at the Fair and Conference to declare it open and carry out any other function that may be required of him.
The Hon. Minister stated that R&D is a major pathway to job creation and the transformation of the nation from a resource-based to a knowledge-based economy. He, however, regretted the non-responsiveness of the industry and the academia to research development and urged the industry to engage in R&D as the country is striving to move from an oil-based to a knowledge based home-grown technology after over five decades of oil production.
Chief Sylva charged the industry to collaborate more with the academia to bring about home grown solutions to the nation’s problems. He further mentioned that the issue of climate change is a problem of carbon emission, not necessarily transition to renewables, hence, the industry should research into how it can reduce the carbon emission from oil exploration activities as the nation has far too long allowed other climes to dictate the narrative for us.
Highpoint of the engagement was the decoration of the NCDMB R&D lapel pin on the Hon. Minister of State for Petroleum Resources by the Executive Secretary, Engr. Simbi Wabote.
In a related development, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, (NNPC), Mr. Mele Kolo Kyari has pledged NNPC’s resolve to partner with relevant government agencies and NCDMB on its steering committee to make decisions that will jointly support innovations in the oil and gas industry that will be beneficial to the nation.
Mr. Kyari made this known at the NCDMB Research and Development Fair and Conference Roadshow visit to him by the Executive Secretary of the Board, Engr. Simbi Wabote. He further stated that the corporation intends to constitute a team of seasoned employees to lead the initiative which clearly fits into the NCDMB objective of growing local capacities and abilities with a commitment to participate in the Board’s R&D Framework to support indigenous competencies.
The GMD also informed that it had transformed its R&D initiative to have a business concept christened, “Research, Technology and Innovation”, (RTI) so that focus will be on tackling contemporary challenges to deliver value addition to the industry. He announced that a conscious and major decision has been made to have an NCDMB representative on the NNPC R&D steering committee to create an industry broad inclusion.
Responding, the Executive Secretary of the Board expressed appreciation for the focus the GMD has brought to NNPC, stating that the NOGICD Act is very heavy on R&D which led to the constitution of the NCDMB Research and Development Council and that the NNPC is a part of it. He suggested that the R&D teams from both NNPC and the Board should work together to maximize the impact of R & D outcomes in the industry.
The Nigerian Content boss extended an invitation to the GMD to deliver a Goodwill Message at the forthcoming R&D Fair and Conference proposed for May 12 – 14, 2020 which will enable the NNPC boss further espouse his intention to the industry to move research and development forward. Engr. Wabote reiterated the Board’s commitment to earmark $50million to support R&D with an assurance to collaborate with the NNPC to progress research and development.