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Nigeria, UAE eye new oil exploration agreement



Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) appear poised to solidify their energy partnership through a new oil exploration deal.

This development comes amidst calls for a global transition towards renewable energy sources.

The Minister of State for Petroleum (Oil), Heineken Lokpobiri, disclosed this in Abuja, on Monday, while playing host to a delegation from the UAE led by the United Arab Emirates Ambassador to Nigeria, Salem Al Shamsi.

Lokpobiri said, “This country has enormous investment opportunities, our pipelines need renewal. They have been there for over 50 years since Nigeria found oil in commercial quantities in 1956/1958.

“And from then till now it is almost 70 years and most of those pipelines were built around that time and have already outlived their lifespans. And even if you can produce, you need to evacuate to the terminals where you would export.

“So it is an opportunity that we are looking up to potential investors from the UAE to come and invest here and recover their money through those investments.

“Part of what we are proposing is that if you come and invest you will get your money, for as you transport the crude you’ll take it. Proportionately you’ll recover your investments, for any barrel of crude you transport through your pipes, you have to recover your investment by placing mutually agreeable charges,” he stated.

Read Also: Nigerian labour unions threaten strike action over electricity price hike

Renewal and Exploration on the Agenda

Recent discussions between Nigerian and UAE officials reportedly focused on two key areas:

Pipeline Renewal: Nigeria seeks UAE investment to upgrade its aging oil pipeline network, exceeding 5,000 kilometers in length. These pipelines, according to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), have surpassed their lifespan and require significant refurbishment.

Continued Exploration: The discussions highlight Nigeria’s commitment to oil exploration despite growing global pressure to move away from fossil fuels. Officials from both countries emphasized that they wouldn’t abandon crude oil drilling.

The Minister further noted, “And even our crude reserves, I’m very confident that the 37 billion barrels we are talking about are also records of about 20 years. So even in terms of crude deposits in volumes, we believe that we should be doing much more than that.

“That is why when this government came on board, part of what was said was that we have to resume our drilling campaigns to ensure that we make more discoveries and sustain the momentum, and we are achieving that by liberalising the processes.”

Nigeria’s motivation for the deal stems partly from a lack of sufficient domestic funds to invest in oil sector upgrades. The UAE, with its substantial financial resources, is seen as a potential partner to bridge this investment gap. The agreement could allow the UAE to recoup its investment through future oil production.

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