Former President Goodluck Jonathan has said he signed the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Development Act in 2010 to ensure that at least 80 per cent of the needs of the nation’s oil industry were produced locally.
Jonathan stated this on Friday when he led his course mates, the 1981 Class of the University of Port Harcourt Alumni on a visit to the Oil and Gas Industrial Park, at Emayal 1 in Ogbia local government area of Bayelsa state.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the former president and his classmates also visited their former lecturer, who was the first Deputy Vice-Chancellor of University of Port Harcourt, Emeretus Prof. E. J. Alagoa, in his home town.
Jonathan said, “When I was deputy governor in 2000, I led the Bayelsa state trade delegation to China, because we came from an oil producing area. They took us to their oil city and if you go to the city, you will be happy with the oil operations, there are oil wells in the front of offices and houses.
“Their oil wells are very shallow, something like pumps and then you see the oil pumping in front of the houses with green.
“When they took us round oil operations from manual to hi-tech, the key thing I learned from that China movement in 2000 was that oil was discovered in commercial quantity in Nigeria in 1956 by western companies.
“Oil was also discovered in commercial quantities in China in 1958, two years after they discovered oil in Nigeria by the same western companies.
“But by the year 2000, up to 80 per cent of the components and the needs of the oil industry, China produces them within the country, but in Nigeria, if Agip needs one thing, they will go to Italy or France, if it is Shell, they will go to the Netherlands.
“So, I was determined that for us as a nation to gain from the oil industry, at least 80 per cent of the oil industry’s needs should be produced in this country, by divine precedent I became president.
“I felt something must be done, the idea of local content is to ensure that at least 80 per cent of the needs in the oil industry is produced in this country; so, that was my vision then.”
During the courtesy visit to Alagoa, the professor said he was delighted for the visit of class 1981.