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No International Oil Firm left Nigeria – Lokpobiri

The Federal Government has said contrary to some recent reports, no International Oil Companies (IOCs) have left Nigeria.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Heineken Lokpobiri who clarified on Tuesday said the IOCs only shifted their portfolio and investments offshore.

He spoke during the inauguration of the ongoing Nigeria International Energy Summit (NIES 2024), at the Presidential Banquet Hall in Abuja.

“I want to use this opportunity to assure everyone that no IOC is leaving Nigeria. They are only going deep offshore,” he said.

The minister said that the divestments by some of the oil companies would benefit the country, as the IOCs would be making further investments in the deep offshore.

The investments, according to Lokpobiri, will create room for indigenous companies to develop capacity within the onshore and shallow waters space.

“It is imperative to note that we are strategically managing the divestment processes.

“Our commitment to enhancing our crude oil reserves and production is unwavering, and we are actively exploring innovative solutions to attract investment, optimise operations and foster sustainable growth.

“We are open for business and ready to welcome your investments,” he said.

According to Lokpobiri, the transition to cleaner and more sustainable energy sources in the country is inevitable.

“We are actively pursuing initiatives to position Nigeria as a leader in this energy transition.

“As we navigate this change, Nigeria recognises the need to strike a balance between meeting our growing energy demand and reducing our carbon footprint.

“The diversification of our energy mix, investments in renewable energy and the adoption of cleaner technologies are all integral components of our strategy,” he added.

The minister explained that investments in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry declined by 69 per cent compared to the 28 per cent global average between 2017 to 2022.

“To further buttress the above, the capital investment to reserve ratio shows the amount of capital deployed to a country’s available reserves.

“Nigeria has an abysmal capital investment-to-reserve ratio of five per cent compared to Angola with 46 per cent; Brazil – 115 per cent; Mozambique – 92 per cent and Guyana – 617 per cent.

“The window for attracting new investments and exploring our vast reserves is fast narrowing; if the global energy transition accelerates, approximately 60 per cent of Nigeria’s reserves could be uncompetitive to produce.

“Against this backdrop, we have identified that there are so many licenses with proven reserves that are not being optimised in the hands of IOCs, NOCs, and others.

“In line with Mr President’s Renewed Hope agenda, we are working on changing this narrative,” he said.

Also speaking, Malam Mele Kyari, Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO), NNPC Ltd., assured that its role in the divestment of the IOCs from onshore and shallow water assets in the country, would serve as a facilitator and not an obstacle.

Kyari said that by the virtue of its statutory mandate as the enabler of national energy security, NNPC Ltd.’s role would ensure optimal and sustainable production from the divested assets to guarantee energy security for the benefit of Nigerians.

He reitrated the company’s willingness to invest in the proposed African Energy Bank as a way of ensuring sustainable funding for energy projects in Africa, to guarantee energy security.

On investment in energy infrastructure to drive energy security, Kyari further said that the completion of the Obiafu-Obrikom-Oben Pipeline was in sight as the tunnelling across the River Niger was currently ongoing.

He assured stakeholders of the company’s commitment to work with them to close the energy deficit gap and create prosperity for Nigerians.

The NNPC helmsman ssid that from all indications, all issues of energy scarcity in the country would be over in the next 10 years.

The event saw the participation of key industry and governmental figures, including Haitham Al-Ghais, Secretary-General of OPEC and Omar Farouk Ibrahim, Secretary-General of the African Petroleum Producers’ Organisation, among others.