January 19, 2024 [Reuters]- Nigeria backs Shell’s decision to sell its onshore oil and gas assets, its junior oil minister said on Thursday, and will give the necessary regulatory approval.
Shell (SHEL.L), opens new tab on Tuesday announced its exit from Nigeria’s onshore and shallow water operations after agreeing to sell the business to a consortium of five mostly local companies, opting to focus future investments in the less troubled deep offshore fields.
Heineken Lokpobiri, Nigeria’s minister of state for petroleum, who spoke at World Economic Forum in Davos, said the government will not impede legitimate business transactions and reaffirmed its commitment to “fostering a business-friendly environment” in the sector.
In a statement, Lokpobiri dismissed concerns about any negative impacts from oil majors selling their Nigeria assets.
“On the part of the government, once we get the necessary documents, we will not waste time to give the necessary considerations and consent,” he said.
Nigeria, Africa’s top oil producer, has suffered declining output in recent years due to theft and sabotage, mostly at onshore fields, as well as low investment in the sector.
The state oil firm NNPC Ltd said on Wednesday the exit of oil majors provides an opportunity for new players to take over the fields.
Lokpobiri called for investment and partnership in Nigeria’s energy transition rather than imposing deadlines, emphasising Africa’s measured approach to the global transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.
“The conversation should be about fostering strategic partnerships and attracting investment, not enforcing timelines that could undermine our economic stability,” Lokpobiri said.
“What we need is strategic investment in our fossil fuels sector to bolster our economy and ensure energy security. Nigeria cannot hastily transition with aids or grants,” he said.
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