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FG seeks UAE investment in oil, gas infrastructure, says pipelines have outlived lifespan

OPEC: Nigeria's oil production rose to 1.28m bpd in April — highest in Africa OPEC: Nigeria's oil production rose to 1.28m bpd in April — highest in Africa

Heineken Lokpobiri, minister of state for petroleum resources (oil), has asked the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to invest in Nigeria’s oil and gas pipeline infrastructure.

Speaking on May 20 when he received Salem Al Shamsi, the UAE Ambassador to Nigeria, and his delegation in his office, the minister said the visit was expected to further promote greater cooperation and mutual benefits in the energy sector.

According to Lokpobiri, the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) made Nigeria an attractive destination for investors by guaranteeing a safe and lucrative investment environment. 

He said Nigeria has huge investment opportunities, and “our pipelines need renewal”. 

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“The pipelines have been there for over 50 years. Nigeria found oil in commercial quantity in 1956/58. From then till now, it’s almost 70 years and most of those pipelines were built around that time, so they have already outlived their lifespan,” he said.

“Even if you have the capacity to produce, you need to evacuate to the terminals where you could export.

“So, it’s an opportunity we are actually looking up to for potential investors from the UAE to come and invest and recover their money through those investments.”

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Lokpobiri said Nigeria should be producing more than 37 billion barrels of crude, adding that the current administration had emphasised the need to resume drilling campaigns to ensure more discoveries.

Furthermore, the minister emphasised Nigeria’s commitment to ramping up oil production, saying while Nigeria was not in a rush to transition from oil, the country is actively working to enhance its production capabilities.

“We are focused on ramping up our oil production; at the same time, we are inviting UAE investors to look at Nigeria as a prime destination. Our business environment is friendly, and our crude deposits are vast,” he said.

“We need to create more opportunities for investments to come in so that we can create the requisite funding for us to be able to finance our transition.” 

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The minister highlighted the benefits of PIA, which he said, provides a robust legal framework that ensures returns on investments and has significantly transformed the oil and gas sector.

Lokpobiri also commended the recent bilateral agreement to restore visa issuance for Nigerians,  attributing the achievement to the commitment of President Bola Tinubu, whose efforts were pivotal in reinstating the important service.

He said the restoration of visa services was noteworthy given the high volume of travel between Nigeria and the UAE.

BOTH COUNTRIES TO BENEFIT FROM COLLABORATION’ 

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Responding, Al Shamsi said he saw great potential in Nigeria’s energy sector, appreciating the steps being taken to create a favourable investment environment.

To identify potential areas of cooperation and partnership between the two nations, Al Shamsi said the technical teams from the ministry and the UAE Embassy would need to interface. 

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Al Shamsi added that both countries will benefit a lot from continued collaboration.

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