FG to speedily consent to Shell asset sales, says Lokpobiri

Davos—The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Heineken Lokpobiri, has vowed to speedily consent to the Shell offshore assets sale upon the presentation of the necessary documentation.

Lokpobiri emphasized that the Nigerian government will not impede legitimate business transactions in the oil and gas sector.

He said: “On the part of the government, once we get the necessary documents, we will not waste time to give the necessary considerations and consent.”

The minister’s special adviser on media and communication, Nneamaka Okafor, made this known in a press statement on Thursday, January 18.

According to the statement, the minister spoke on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

He affirmed the Nigerian government’s commitment to fostering a business-friendly environment in the oil and gas sector.

Lokpobiri addressed Shell’s decision to sell its onshore assets to a consortium of five Nigerian companies.

Responding to concerns about international oil companies (IOCs) diversifying their onshore assets, the minister highlighted the positive aspects of the diversification.

He noted 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.

Addressing potential negative impacts on the country, Minister Lokpobiri reassured that the diversification would not adversely affect Nigeria.

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,” he added.

Responding to questions on preventing IOCs from diversifying their upstream operations, the Minister clarified that companies have not left their upstream deepwater assets.

He said they are diversifying their onshore assets, creating opportunities for local companies with developed capacity and financing to acquire and profitably manage these assets.

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.

Lokpobiri announced that the President has approved a licensing bid round, demonstrating the government’s dedication to initiating the process promptly.

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