None of the International Oil Companies, IOCs, operating in Nigeria is exiting the country, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, has said.
The minister made the confirmation while speaking with journalists shortly after touring ExxonMobil’s Erha Floating Production Storage and Offloading vessels (FPSO) in Lagos on Sunday, adding that it was not possible for a company like ExxonMobil to sell off its assets.
“I have confirmed that it is not true; they are going to be here for a long stay; they will be here over the next 50 years; they are looking for more; they are doing all kinds of things; they just begun the exploration campaign first time in four years because of the new cash call policies we put in place.
“That is not a sign of somebody who is exiting. But different from not exiting is to be aggressive. ExxonMobil needs to be more aggressive in terms of development policies,’’ he said
The minister further said that ExxonMobil needs to be more aggressive with business as Bonga South-west was almost on FID, Egina just kicked off and Agip is struggling to get Zabazaba online.
“So, I need to see a very robust development ,’’ he advised
Explaining why he visited the FPSO, Kachikwu said he did because of the need to encourage the company and see the development programmes as well as share in the challenges they were experiencing in their operations.
“First is to draw attention to the very complex and complication of operations of FPSOs when we do production offshore.
“This is about 100 km from land, and part of the thing I am doing this month is visiting some of them, including Egina that is just recently buoyed in different location and the one of Agip.
“I am here to look at what they are doing, to encourage them to continue the fantastic work they are doing and also discuss with them what their problems are,’’ he said.
The minister further said the visit was also aimed to drawing national and international attention to the challenges involved in complicated oepratiins such as FPSOs.
Speaking during the visit, ExxonMobil’s Executive Director, Production, Mr. Richard Laing, thanked the minister for making out time to visit the facility and confirmed that the company had no plans to exit Nigeria.
Laing said: “We are happy with Nigeria, We have our differences; we don’t agree on everything, we are happy and contented. We are delighted over the minister’s visit and we are happy that he has come back to his spiritual home.
“As the minister said, the corporation has been here for many years; we intend to stay; we have ambitious growth programmes to build wealth and grow business to make more profit, key into the gas commercialisation project.
“We fully support what the minister said and we look forward to working with him,’’ he said .
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