The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, has underscored the Nigerian government’s dedication to creating a business-friendly atmosphere within the nation’s oil and gas sector.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, Senator Lokpobiri addressed Shell’s decision to sell its onshore assets in Nigeria to a consortium of five Nigerian companies. He emphasized the government’s commitment to facilitating legitimate business transactions in the oil and gas sector.

According to Lokpobiri, once the necessary documents are received, the government will promptly provide the required considerations and consent. Responding to concerns about international oil companies (IOCs) diversifying their onshore assets, the minister highlighted the positive aspects of such diversification. He pointed out that Nigeria stands to gain as it opens opportunities for indigenous companies with the capacity to acquire and professionally manage these assets, leading to increased profitability and maximized potential.

Addressing potential negative impacts on the country, Lokpobiri reassured that the diversification would not adversely affect Nigeria. He emphasized ongoing engagements with International Oil Companies (IOCs) regarding decommissioning of non-productive assets and abandonment issues. The minister clarified that the diversification primarily involves onshore assets, not upstream deepwater assets, and stressed the government’s adherence to the law without jeopardizing legitimate businesses.

Lokpobiri also addressed concerns raised by IOCs, particularly with Nigerian banks, and assured a safe environment for handling funds related to decommissioning and abandonment. He reiterated the government’s commitment to addressing sector concerns, including insecurity and aging infrastructure, such as pipelines. The Minister highlighted ongoing engagements with companies to invest in pipeline technology and other critical infrastructures within the oil and gas value chain.

Concluding his statement, 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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