• Tuesday, February 27, 2024
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FG not averse to Shell asset sales — Lokpobiri

Nigeria needs strategic partnership, investment not grants— Lokpobiri

Heineken Lokpobiri, the minister of state for Petroleum Resources (Oil), has said that the Nigerian government was not against the sales of Shell assets, stating that the government remains committed to fostering a business-friendly environment in the oil and gas sector.

Speaking on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the minister addressed Shell’s decision to sell its onshore assets to a consortium of five Nigerian companies.

The minister in a statement issued by Nneamaka Okafor, his special adviser on media and communication, said that the Nigerian government will not impede legitimate business transactions in the oil and gas sector. “On the part of the government, once we get the necessary documents, we will not waste time to give the necessary considerations and consent.”

Speaking on concerns about international oil companies (IOCs) diversifying their onshore assets, the minister said that Nigeria loses nothing as such moves create opportunities for indigenous companies with the capacity to acquire and professionally manage these assets, leading to increased profitability and the maximization of their potential.

He emphasized the government’s engagement with IOCs regarding the decommissioning of non-productive assets and abandonment issues. The minister stated that concerns raised by IOCs, particularly with Nigerian banks, have been addressed, assuring a safe environment for the handling of funds related to decommissioning and abandonment.

“As a government, we will adhere to the law without jeopardizing legitimate businesses. IOCs have not left their upstream deep-water assets. Instead, they are diversifying their onshore assets, creating opportunities for local companies with developed capacity and financing to acquire and profitably manage these assets,” he said.

The minister reiterated the government’s commitment to addressing sector concerns, including insecurity and aging 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.

He also announced that President Tinubu has approved a licensing bid round, in demonstration of the government’s dedication to initiating the process promptly.