The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, has continued his drive to have International Oil Companies (IOCs) operating in Nigeria deepen their investments in the country with a visit to United States oil firm, ExxonMobil.
The minister according to a statement from the ministry yesterday in Abuja, met with top executives of ExxonMobil at its headquarters in Irving Texas, where he requested that they consider investing in refining of petroleum products in Nigeria.
Kachikwu, said ExxonMobil has had an enduring partnership with Nigeria, and should deepen its commitment to develop the country’s oil and gas industry, especially in domestic refining of petroleum products.
He reiterated the commitment of the federal government to reduce importation of refined petroleum products into the country, adding that this would be improved on if major IOCs operating in Nigeria invest in building signature refineries to be run on joint venture basis with the government.
According to him, the government would also provide the necessary incentives to accomplish this.
While reiterating the gains that have been made in the sector through the signing of the repayment agreement for the Joint Venture (JV) cash call in 2016, Kachikwu further clarified that the initial payments to the IOCs would be made by the end of April 2017.
He noted that it would be expedient the IOCs reciprocate the government’s gesture and commitment to paying off the cash call debts by ensuring that they ramp up investments in the country’s oil sector.
Kachikwu, equally encouraged ExxonMobil to invest in more practical deliveries in human capital development and local skills sets required in the oil sector.
The statement noted that ExxonMobil in response recognised the valued partnership it has with Nigeria, as well as Kachikwu’s efforts to further develop the oil sector.
ExxonMobil also reiterated its commitment to help deliver power to Nigeria and support the country’s gas commercialisation programme.
According to the ministry, the meeting is part of Kachikwu’s ongoing investment drive to get IOCs further commit to developing Nigeria’s oil sector. The first of such was with Italian oil firm, Eni in January 2017, where Eni pledged to work with Nigeria to revamp the Port Harcourt Refinery.
It explained that the minister would also visit Shell, Chevron and Total, and then lead Nigeria’s delegation to the upcoming Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston, with the intention of persuading more investors to invest in Nigeria’s oil industry.
Also, THISDAY had recently reported that Kachikwu would be at the May OTC to showcase Nigeria’s soon-to-be launched marginal oil fields bid rounds.