Nigeria has given the assurance that it would scrutinise oil companies that would bid for the takeover of assets that Shell and other oil majors will be divesting from in the country.
Shell and ExxonMobil had indicated their interests to divest from onshore and shallow water assets in the country.
Speaking at a separate business meetings with top managements of Chevron and Schlumberger at their headquarters, in Houston, Texas, United States (US), Minister of State Petroleum Resources Chief Timipre Sylva said the Federal Government will carry out due diligence in the selection and eventual approval of any company that will take over the assets from which these companies are planning divestment.
He stated that the previous practice where by companies are just allowed to purchase strategic without verifying their capacity to operate such assets would no longer be tolerated.
Sylva said: “In the past companies were just allowed to buy assets that they had no capacity to operate. We would no longer allow that to happen again because government is the ultimate lover. If they are not able to operate such assets optimally government won’t be able to generate revenue from such assets. So we are going to do our best to ensure that will get the best value from these assets.”
He told Chevron and Schlumberger teams that government would create the enabling environment for them to increase their investments in Nigeria adding that with the passage of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) Nigeria would increase the incentives for investments in the oil and gas sector of the economy.
“With PIA we now have the enabling laws that protect and make the operating environment more attractive. With the passage of the PIA there are a lot of interests in the oil and gas sector in Nigeria today. The responses we have gotten from investors so far it’s quite good. Everybody is quite happy,” Sylva said.
He added that the Federal Government while willing to encourage new investors would open its doors first to those who already have business and investments in the country.
The minister who also spoke on cost optimization, security of oil and gas assets, domestic gas utilization called for more investments in the sector.
At a breakfast meeting organised by the African Energy Future, Sylva urged the African continent to wake up to find solution the African problem or the word would leave Africa behind.
Sylva who spoke yesterday morning at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Houston, said with the Omicron virus ban placed on Africa and the rush for energy transition, the continent leaders need to look for urgent financing solution if the continent will continue to play key roles in the hydrocarbon sectors.