The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Heineken Lokpobiri says the Nigerian government will not impede legitimate business transactions in the oil and gas sector.
Speaking on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the Minister addressed Shell’s decision to sell its onshore assets to a consortium of five Nigerian companies.
He said, “On the part of the government, once we get the necessary documents, we will not waste time to give the necessary considerations and consent.”
He re-affirmed the Nigerian government’s commitment to fostering a business-friendly environment in the oil and gas sector.
Responding to concerns about international oil companies (IOCs) divesting their onshore assets, the Minister highlighted its positive aspects to the economy, noting that Nigeria loses nothing as such moves create opportunities for indigenous companies with the capacity to acquire and professionally manage these assets, leading to increased profitability and the maximization of their potentials.
Addressing possible negative impacts on the country, Lokpobiri reassured that the divesification would not adversely affect Nigeria.
He explained government’s engagement with IOCs regarding the decommissioning of non-productive assets and abandonment issues, saying that concerns raised by IOCs, particularly with Nigerian banks, have been addressed.
Responding to questions on preventing IOCs from diversifying their upstream operations, the Minister clarified that companies have not left their upstream deep water assets, instead, they are divesting their onshore assets, creating opportunities for local companies with developed capacity and financing to acquire and profitably manage these assets.
He reiterated the government’s commitment to addressing sector concerns, including insecurity and aging infrastructure, such as pipelines.
He highlighted ongoing engagements with companies to invest in pipeline technology and other critical infrastructures within the oil and gas value chain.
Lokpobiri also announced that the President has approved a licensing bid round, demonstrating the government’s dedication to initiating the process promptly.
Editor: Ken Eseni