Tominyi Owolabi, partner in charge of the oil and gas group at Olaniwun Ajayi, talks to TOGY about the development of policy in the Nigerian oil and gas industry, regulation of the downstream sector and the stronger role being played by local companies. Olaniwun Ajayi is a Nigerian law firm advising players across the entire value chain.
• On local operators: “The ability of local champions to grow their reserves is key, and we should expect to see increased M&A activity in that respect. Another important factor besides reserves is what kind of diversification they can do with what they have: Can they monetise their gas, can they do other things apart from just exporting crude? Bringing more value to what they currently have is very important.”
• On the legal framework: “Regulation has been a major issue historically. You need to bring clarity to regulation for investors to get into that space. Regulation deals with ease of entry and the ability to set up, get your licences and get going. It also affects ease of attraction of capital.”
• On government participation: “The government also needs to realise that it does not have to be a player in the space. Until government understands that it needs to be more of an enabler than a player, we will not move forward.”
• On infrastructure: “A major determinant for the future is not investing in developing reserves or exploration activities but in infrastructure. That is going to have a multiplier effect in the economy, as it would not only create jobs and attract capital to the country, but would also change the way the economy is.”