• en

Deputy Oil Minister Lokpobiri Urges UAE Investors To Help Revitalise Nigeria’s Oil Pipeline Network

Lokpobiri has assured UAE investors of quick return of investment in Nigeria’s oil sector, saying Tinubu is eliminating sector’s bureaucracies.

The Minister of State Petroleum Resources (Oil), Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, on Monday called on the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to invest in Nigeria’s decaying oil and gas pipeline infrastructure, some of which were built over 60 years ago.

Speaking when he received the ambassador of the UAE to Nigeria, Salem Al Shamsi and his team in his office in Abuja, the minister explained that the oil business remains one of the most lucrative in the world, assuring the country of good returns on investment.

Nigeria has over 5,000 kilometres of ageing oil pipeline infrastructure across the country, which is hardly put into use currently. The deteriorating infrastructure has also had a negative impact on people and the environment, sometimes resulting in oil spills.

Whereas in other countries, pipelines are used to transport crude oil as well as petroleum products, in Nigeria tankers are deployed in moving products around the country, with their attendant impact on the roads as well as  addition to cost of doing business.

Even in the upstream, operators had recently resorted to the use of barges because the pipelines have become very unreliable.

But as two important members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Lokpobiri stated that both nations share a lot in common, telling his guests that they will not regret investing in Nigeria.

Stressing that both countries will continue to collaborate to ensure the sustainability of the oil and gas business, Lokpobiri pointed out that another area of agreement between UAE and Nigeria is the belief that the exploration of oil cannot be jettisoned overnight.

However, he emphasised that oil and gas could be explored in a greener, cleaner and more sustainable way, insisting that abandoning it was not the solution, as historically, no source of energy had been completely abandoned.

“And so for us in Africa, in Nigeria particularly, what we are looking for is to build strategic partnership with the UAE and the rest of the world so that we could be able to raise the money that is needed to finance the transition as canvassed globally. So I want to use the opportunity to call on investors in UAE to come to Nigeria.

“Nigeria has enormous investment opportunities. Our pipelines need renewal. Our pipelines have been there for over 50 years. Nigeria found oil in commercial quantity in 1956 to 1958. And so from then to now, it’s almost 70 years. And most of those pipelines were built around that time.

“So, they’ve already outlived their lifespan. And even if you have the capacity to produce, you need to evacuate to the terminals where you could do export. And so it’s an opportunity that we’re actually looking up to potential investors from UAE to come and then invest here and then recover their money through those investments.

“The models will be very attractive. And part of what we’re proposing is that if you come and invest, you’d get your money as you transport the crude, you take it proportionately.

“You will recover your investment for any crude, any barrel of crude you transport through your pipelines. You also will recover your investment by placing charges that are mutually agreeable,” he stated.

The minister further highlighted Nigeria’s enormous oil and gas resources, explaining that Nigeria could even double current reserves with proper exploratory operations.

“We also have over 208 trillion cubic feet of gas. And we in Nigeria know that these records are over 20 years old. If other countries in Africa find oil, chances are that we could very well double or triple our gas reserves in Nigeria.

“We see Nigeria as more of a gas country than even a crude country. But even our crude reserves, we’re very confident that the same 37 billion barrels we’re talking about are also records of over 20 years,” he added.

Lokpobiri also noted that Nigeria as a country was committed to the Paris Agreement, observing that no country is slowing down on fossil fuel production and there was therefore the need to create more investment opportunities to create a requisite funding to be able to finance the current energy transition.

He maintained that no country survives on pledges and assistance by other nations, especially from the West, but  as a result of investment flow.

“When this government came, part of what we said was that we have to resume our drilling campaigns to ensure that we make more discoveries and sustain that momentum. And we are achieving that by liberalising the processes.

“We have tried to eliminate the bureaucracy that has been one of the reasons why some of these investments were delayed. We tried to eliminate the bureaucracy. We tried to make things easier for those who want to invest to come in,” he added.

He lamented that there is not much import and export between Nigeria and UAE at the moment, in the oil and gas sector, stressing that it was time to concretise the relationship between both nations.

“We don’t have the money. Nigerians don’t have the equity dollars. But investors in UAE, you have the dollars, billions of them, to come and invest here and then recover your investments,” he noted.

In his remarks, the UAE ambassador to Nigeria, Al Shamsi, acknowledged the steps being taken by the current administration to ramp up activities in the oil and gas sector.

“We see great potential in Nigeria’s energy sector and appreciate the steps being taken to create a conducive investment environment. Our countries have much to gain from continued collaboration,” he affirmed.

The envoy stated that the relationship between the countries was established decades ago, highlighting the bilateral agreements signed by both countries as a testament to the strong ties that exist between them.

Emmanuel Addeh

Follow us on: