The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, has affirmed that the Federal Government will carefully evaluate and approve the agreement between Shell and a consortium of five Nigerian companies for the divestment of Shell’s onshore assets, pending the submission of all necessary documents.
Addressing concerns about potential impediments to legitimate business transactions in the oil and gas sector, Senator Lokpobiri emphasized the government’s commitment to expeditiously reviewing the agreement once all required documentation is received.
Responding to worries about international oil companies (IOCs) diversifying their onshore assets, the Minister highlighted the positive outcomes of such moves. He argued that Nigeria stands to gain as indigenous companies, with the capability to acquire and professionally manage these assets, could benefit, leading to increased profitability and the realization of their full potential.
Addressing concerns raised by IOCs, particularly regarding transactions with Nigerian banks, Senator Lokpobiri assured that the government has addressed these issues, emphasizing a secure environment for handling funds related to decommissioning and abandonment.
Clarifying the distinction between preventing IOCs from diversifying their upstream operations and their onshore assets, the Minister stated that companies are not abandoning their upstream deepwater assets. Instead, they are creating opportunities for local companies with developed capacity and financing to acquire and profitably manage these onshore assets.
In conclusion, Senator Lokpobiri reiterated the government’s commitment to addressing sector concerns, including insecurity and ageing 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. Additionally, he announced the President’s approval of a licensing bid round, underscoring the government’s dedication to initiating the process promptly.