Sunday, April 14, 2024

Nigerian oil firms acquire 26 divested licenses in 10 years

Nigerian oil firms have acquired about 26 oil mining licenses in the Niger Delta basin area in the last decade.

This was revealed by Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, Simbi Wabote on Wednesday at the 2023 Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association Energy and Labour Summit in Abuja.

According to him; some of the divestments currently on the cards included those planned by Shell and ExxonMobil to sell oil and gas assets worth billions of dollars, in addition to Eni’s announcement in September of an agreement with Oando Plc for the sale of NAOC interests in six onshore blocks and Okpai gas power plant in Delta State.

He emphasised that divestments of oil assets are not necessarily negative, rather, they present an avenue for the local capacities and capabilities that have been developed through local content implementation to be brought to bear in the upstream sector.

Wabote outlined several opportunities that would accrue from divestments, such as the injection of new capital, the rejuvenation of divested assets, and an increase in crude oil production through the investment in technologies by the acquiring firms.

Other direct benefits are the creation of direct and indirect employment opportunities by the indigenous companies and their service providers.

He reiterated that the divestments confirm that Nigerians and indigenous companies have come of age and have acquired the technical, managerial, and financial capabilities to play in the “big league”.

He added that “the involvement of our financial institutions on the transactions represents means of efficient capital deployment and capacity building on loans syndication on an international scale. This is also applicable to legal services, insurance, government relations, employee relations, community liaison, and others.”

Aside from the opportunities, the NCDMB boss equally highlighted challenges encountered in the divestment exercises.

According to him, the challenges revolved around the time required to get necessary regulatory approvals as well as the substantial interests from various groups covering political, legal, communities, and labour.

Among other challenges are the potential for the disruption of oil and gas production, job losses, as well as access to latest technology especially if the new investors lack the technical expertise or have no support from original equipment manufacturers.

He also highlighted issues around how to manage legacy issues or liabilities related to the environment, communities, and other social commitments and pressure on new investors to recoup investments on time to offset loans and address other financial requirements.

The NCDMB boss assured that the Board would continue to partner with industry stakeholders to institute regulations that would ensure that the increasing footprints and stakes of indigenous oil and gas production companies would not lead to a reduction in Nigerian content compliance.

Popular Articles