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When the late Secretary General of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, Muhammad Barkindo arrived at the Nigeria Oil and Gas Conference on Tuesday at about 12 noon, no one had any inkling that that would be the last time many of them will see him alive.

He was ushered into the hall looking very lively and had smiles all over him throughout the event.

The eloquence in which he delivered his speech at the event made one of the participants of the conference to request that he be given another standing ovation.

He came into the conference venue for the opening session accompanied by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroluem Company Ltd, Mele Kyari, the NNPC Board Chairman Margary Okadigbo and other top dignitaries at the event.

He told the gathering how excited he was to be back home to attend the event after the lockdown that was induced by the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said, “It is very refreshing, indeed a great pleasure to be back home and to join the NOG in person for the first time since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Sharing this important platform with such a distinguished line-up of speakers, and seeing so many old friends, fellow comrades and familiar faces, is a special privilege.

“We owe a debt of gratitude to the organizers of NOG, Odiri Umusu of DMG and the Nigerian National Petroleum Company NNPC LTD, along with all those who have worked so hard to make the NOG Conference and Exhibition one of the premier events on Nigeria’s energy calendar.

“Allow me to pay tribute to the founders of NOG – Late Dr. Rilwanu Lukman and Dr. Allirio Parra both of blessed memory and congratulate the Organizers for keeping the legacy alive.”

He then went on to talk about the milestones which the Nigerian petroleum industry have achieved since the last one year.

Barkindo said, “One year ago this month, the Petroleum Industry Bill was adopted by both houses of the 9th National Assembly and signed into Law by President Muhammadu Buhari.

“This was a groundbreaking achievement, culminating many long years of hard work. I am confident that the implementation of the law will help unlock the full potential of our petroleum industry, strengthen its ability to attract long-term investment, as well as support a dynamic and diverse economy. “

Shortly after the recap,the OPEC Boss told the gathering about the funding challenges facing the industry and how much would be required to bridge the investment gap by 2045.

He said that a cumulative investments of $11.8trn would be needed between now and 2045 by Nigeria and other oil and gas producing countries to meet the growth in energy demand.

Barkindo told the gathering that OPEC projects that total primary energy demand will expand by a robust 28 per cent in the period to 2045.

He explained that oil is expected to retain the largest share of the energy mix, accounting for 28 per cent share in 2045, followed by gas at around 24 per cent.

The implication of this, according to him, is that oil and gas together will continue to supply more than half of the world’s energy needs for many decades.