FG backs IOCs’ divestment, warns against sharp practice


The Federal Government yesterday said international oil companies (IOCs) will not be blocked from divesting their assets in the country even as the government warned that short-changing Nigeria in the process will not be tolerated.

The Independent Petroleum Producer Group (IPPG), who are scouting about $4.5 billion to buy assets of Shell, Eni and ExxonMobil, are asking the government to quickly complete the deal, adding that further delay would create a negative image for the country.

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Heineken Lokpobiri, said President, Bola Tinubu, has landed the speedy conclusion of the assets transfer.

Lokpobiri said the Nigerian government would allow oil companies to leave the same way they came and would not block them. But for over a year, the sale of ExxonMobil assets to Seplat has remained in limbo even as the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) said the companies must tick every dot before approval would be granted for any divestment.

Last month, Lokpobiri said the process of divestment was about 95 per cent completed. The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd), at the ongoing Nigerian International Energy Summit in Abuja, allayed concerns over its role in obstructing the divestment.

The Group Chief Executive Officer of NNPC, Mele Kyari, during the opening ceremony of the seventh NIES said: “Addressing industry stakeholders and government representatives, Kyari emphasized that NNPC’s role in the divestment process is that of a facilitator, aiming to ensure optimal and sustainable production from the divested assets.

Kyari underscored the company’s statutory mandate as the enabler of national energy security, emphasising the need for a seamless transition in the interest of Nigerians.”

He also highlighted NNPC’s proactive approach to energy investment, disclosing the company’s willingness to contribute to the proposed African Energy Bank.

The strategic move is aimed at fostering sustainable funding for energy projects across Africa, further solidifying NNPC’s commitment to regional energy security, he said.

Providing insights into domestic energy infrastructure development, Kyari reported that the Obiafu-Obrikom-Oben Pipeline project was near completion, with tunneling across the River Niger currently underway. The completion of the pipeline is expected to enhance energy distribution and contribute to the nation’s energy security.


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