West Africa strategic to world energy supply

At a time when energy consumption around the world is growing, oil supply is a continuing concern. John Westwood of Douglas-Westwood Ltd. in the UK addressed this and other critical issues in a presentation at the Offshore West Africa Conference & Exhibition in Abuja, Nigeria, on March 20. "West Africa is without a doubt a strategic energy supplier to the Western World," Westwood said.

Offshore staff

ABUJA, Nigeria -- At a time when energy consumption around the world is growing, oil supply is a continuing concern. John Westwood of Douglas-Westwood Ltd. in the UK addressed this and other critical issues in a presentation at the Offshore West Africa Conference & Exhibition in Abuja, Nigeria, on March 20. "West Africa is without a doubt a strategic energy supplier to the Western World," Westwood said.

Westwood said by 2011, West Africa will be the world's largest offshore market, the largest deepwater market, and the largest subsea market. Westwood tempered this good news with caution, saying, "Major challenges lie ahead."

One of the challenges Westwood explained is not confined to working in Nigeria; it is the need to work with national oil companies (NOCs). According to Westwood, NOCs control 75% of the world's oil and gas reserves, while major oil companies hold only 4%. The need to work with these companies is obvious, Westwood said.

With the "easy oil" found, the future is in harsh environments, Westwood explained, citing the Arctic, high-pressure and high-temperature challenges, and deepwater as some of the areas that will see activity in the coming years. He also pointed to political challenges, noting that many of the NOCs of the world are in countries where the political climate is not stable.

In terms of Nigeria, Westwood said the primary concerns are addressing local content issues, attracting expatriates to work in the country, securing foreign contractors, compliance issues, and perhaps most importantly, making sure the world perceives Nigeria as a good place to do business.

Westwood encouraged Nigerians to prepare for an influx of investment, noting that international investment in West Africa's offshore will be among the biggest globally.

"West Africa's growth will be among the greatest in the world." Westwood said. "There is a lot of money heading in this direction."

3/20/2007

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