NNPC allays fears on divestment by international oil companies

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By SundiataPOST, Abuja

Mr. Andrew Yakubu, the Group Managing Director of NNPC, has dismissed insinuations the recent spate of divestments from certain onshore oil blocks by some international oil companies (IOC) could lead to crisis in the nation’s oil and industry.

His assurance was contained in a statement by the Group General Manager, Public Affairs of the corporation, Ms Tumini Green, on Wednesday in Abuja.

The statement quoted the Group Managing Director of the corporation, Mr Andrew Yakubu, as giving the assurance at the ongoing World Energy Congress in Daegu, South Korea.

According to him, the divestments are not only healthy for the industry in Nigeria, but will also go a long way in promoting effective indigenous participation in core upstream activities.

“These are not withdrawals in the real sense of withdrawals.

“The fact is that a number of these IOCs are moving into more challenging frontiers in the deep offshore and are leaving the onshore blocks which they consider less challenging.’’ 

Yakubu said the major players that were divesting had actually been sitting on each of the affected acreage and had allowed them to go fallow for years without significant development.

“So, it is only fair for them to release these blocks so that others, especially the indigenous operators, can have the blocks and grow in the upstream .

“This, indeed, is a good development and I think we are moving in the right direction,” he said.

He said that the divestment offered immense opportunities for the nation’s indigenous flagship upstream operator, the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC).

Yakubu said this would enable it to grow to its capacity, especially as it strived to meet the target of daily crude production of 250,000 barrels being projected by 2020.

He also said the advent of the shale gas and oil revolution in America for now would not have serious negative impact on the nation’s crude oil fortunes as earlier projected by some petroleum analysts.

“No doubt, the shale gas phenomenon poses a pushback on our oil and gas but the good news is that as we speak, the impact is going to come a very long time from now.

“This is because a close examination of the various discoveries of shale gas shows a huge misalignment between what was projected and the actualisation of most of the gas that would bring shale gas into full maturity.’’

He explained that though the shale gas revolution was real, its availability in the global energy market was being hampered by high cost and other infrastructural challenges.

He added, however, that the NNPC was moving to activate measures to ensure that the country was not caught napping if and when shale gas achieved the projected global penetration.