IOCs are not leaving Nigeria, says Oil & Gas Free Zone boss

*Chief Executive Officer of the Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority, OGFZA, Mr. Bamanga Jada.

Vincent Toritseju

Lagos — The Chief Executive Officer of the Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority, OGFZA, Mr. Bamanga Jada, has said that contrary to media reports that oil giants are leaving the country, the International Oil Companies, IOCs, are divesting into deeper waters and selling off the offshore operations.

Speaking on a Television programme monitored in Lagos, Jada also said that these oil companies have been working in Nigeria for decades adding that they have been able to develop local capacity that they are now taking over their offshore operations while transferring technology to Nigerians.

Jada explained that rather than move out of Nigeria, the IOCs are investing in cleaner and more sustainable energy by exploring gas in deeper waters of the nation’s oil and gas industry.

The agency boss also said that the IOCs are confident that Nigerians can manage onshore downstream petroleum aspect of whatever the oil and gas they (IOCs) are handing over to them.

He said: “Shell is trying to cut down investment in hydro-carbon because they are very mindful of our environment which is line with the President Ahmed Tinubu to cut down emission releases into the ozone layer and investing into gas which is more environmentally friendly and more sustainable source of energy.

“The ease of doing business in Nigeria is a priority, all bottle necks will be eliminated, and investors understand that President Tinubu is committed to removing all bottlenecks to attract investors and the President has also been marketing Nigeria in this direction.

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“Just last month, we had a meeting with the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, the Minister of Budget and National Planning and also the Minister of Trade and Investment on how to make the special economic zones of Nigeria more efficient.

‘‘The government is considering an increase in investment within the zones in terms of infrastructure and the government is committed to improve the infrastructure within which is also part of my seven point agenda.

“The multi-nationals are ready to go into gas exploration, which is more environmentally friendly and cleaner source of energy. When you mention Shell and Total, Shell was able to transfer technology to our people, was able to develop capacity and they are now going into offshore.

‘‘The same thing with Total Nigeria Limited, after showing intention to exit the offshore and the downstream aspect of the industry, they pledged to invest over $600million into the system through the production of gas. This is a welcome development. This is also to show that the President’s economic policies are working.”

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