Politics

International Oil Companies Ready To Invest $16.6bn In Nigeria’s Energy Sector- FG

2 NUPRC Chief Executive Gbenga Komolafe Right and Minister of State Petroleum Heineken Lokpobiri Left

… Targets 3 Million Barrels Per Day Crude Oil Production With NNPCL’s Efforts

Oil giant TotalEnergies has indicated an interest in Nigeria’s new oil bid round launched at the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston, Texas USA, according to the Minister of State Petroleum Resources (Oil), Heineken Lokpobiri.

The Minister disclosed on Thursday at the one-year ministerial press briefing in Abuja that other multinationals like Halliburton, Eni, and Schlumberger have indicated interest in returning and the country has received $16.6bn investments commitment in the oil and gas industry.

In the wake of the divestment of oil assets by some International Oil Companies, the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission launched a new licensing round for 12 oil blocks and additional seven old blocks.

The NUPRC took centre stage at the OTC making a statement that the country was ready for investment in the oil and gas sector.

To signal the country’s readiness, the Commision’s Chief Executive, Engr. Gbenga Komolafe took the roadshow to Miami, Florida, USA where it showcased the oil wells to investors and US officals, pledging numerous incentives including reducing the entry fees for both offshore and the deep offshore blocks.

Lokpobiri said, “Recall that recently the global CEO of Total made a statement in Kigali, Rwanda, and he said Nigeria hasn’t seen investment for 12 years, which is true. And we are already changing the narrative. I was in a meeting with him on Saturday with the president, and all the issues he raised, we are already addressing. Also to tell you that Total has also shown significant interest in the new bid rounds.

“President approved the new bid round, which we launch in Houston sometime this month. And Total is already expressing significant interest in some of those blocks. So also other IOCs, which means that the IOCs, we’ve been able to, rekindle the confidence of the investing community, and they are coming back.”

At the Africa CEO in Kigali, Rwanda, the Chief Executive Officer of TotalEnergies, Patrick Pouyanne disclosed that the company snubbed Nigeria when investing $6bn in energy projects in Angola over inconsistency in policymaking.

But Lokpobiri said “Even this morning (Thursday, May 23, 2024), I was playing host to the global CEO of Schlumberger, (one of) the biggest oil and gas service provider in the world. Schlumberger among other companies like Halliburton left Nigeria, why did they leave because the policies were not favorable? They left because some people who implemented the Local Content Acts misunderstood the local content to be substitution of the IOCs.

“The law was to build local capacity to play at their own level. As of today, no local drilling company can go to deep offshore to drill. It’s still within the exclusive capacity of the big oil service companies to go to deep offshore where bulk of our production is coming from. It’s important to note that over 80 per cent of what is produced locally is produced by the IOCs. The IOCs themselves have pledged, they are not living Nigeria, but they are trying to live on the shore, and shallow waters, to go to the deep offshore, which is beyond our capacity at the moment.

“So the point is that we have been able to rekindle the confidence, we have restored the confidence of the investing community in the oil and gas sector, and that is why Halliburton’s global CEO was here, and that was why the total global CEO was here last Saturday. And I’ve met with the global CEOs of Shell, Eni, as I speak now, the team of Eni is still waiting for me in my office. All these are to show that the policies of this government are working, we are already bringing back the investors who have enough confidence in this present administration.”

Lokpobiri said that the country has seen investments committed to the tune of $5bn (Bonga North) and $10bn by Shell and Eni in deepwater offshore assets; and $1.6bn investment commitment in oil and gas asset acquisition by Coastal Services Solutions Limited.

The minister also highlighted the role of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd in raising oil production from around 1.1 million to 1.7 million per day.

He said, “Continuous engagement with IOCs and Independent Petroleum Producers Group (IPPG) members in resolving industry disputes towards increasing production – Seplat and Oando. Resolutions of internal Joint venture contracts feud between joint ventures partners on critical productions fields – OPL 245.

“By the time we address them (Infrastructure issues) within the shortest possible time, we will increase production to 2 million to 3 million.”

According to him, some of the downstream sector improvements is the disappearance of fuel queues during the Christmas holiday period .

He said it is a “Notable achievement attributed to the concerted efforts of stakeholders, especially the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL) and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA).”

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