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We’re not hindering divestment by foreign oil companies, says NNPC

BY Bunmi Aduloju

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited says its role in the divestment of international oil companies (IOCs) from onshore and shallow water assets in the country is that of a facilitator.

Mele Kyari, group chief executive officer (GCEO), NNPC, spoke during the opening ceremony of the 7th edition of the Nigeria international energy summit (NIES) 2024 in Abuja.

The summit is themed “Navigating the New Energy World Order: Security, Transition, and Finance”.

On February 25, 2022, Seplat Energy Plc agreed to acquire ExxonMobil’s entire share in its shallow water business — Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited (MPNU).

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However, after two years, the deal is yet to be completed due to regulatory setbacks.

Also, Oando, on September 4, 2023, disclosed it had signed a deal to acquire 100 percent of Eni’s shares in Nigerian Agip Oil Company Limited (NAOC Ltd).

On January 6, 2024, Shell Plc also announced plans to sell its Nigerian onshore oil assets to a consortium of local companies for over $1.3 billion — subject to regulatory approval. 

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Speaking on ICOs’ divestment, Kyari said in accordance with its statutory mandate as an enabler of national energy security, NNPC must ensure at the end of the day, optimal and sustained production from the divested assets is achieved to assure energy security for Nigerians.

“The key issue is that every arrangement that you have must be of mutual value and benefit to us,” Kyari said.

“We are not hindering the exit of anyone, just for clarity purposes. We are not preventing anything but every arrangement must guarantee incremental production from these assets and we must see this on the table.”

He also expressed the company’s willingness to invest in the proposed African Energy Bank as a means of providing long-term funding for energy projects in Africa and ensuring energy security.  

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

NNPC GCEO reminded stakeholders of the company’s commitment to working with them to close the energy deficit gap and create wealth for Nigerians.

Kyari said all indicators show the country’s energy scarcity will be resolved within the next 10 years.

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