Govt woos pipeline investors from UAE

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The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Senator Heineken Lokpobiri yesterday called on the United Arab Emirate (UAE) investors to invest in the Nigeria’s crude oil pipeline. He noted that the pipelines, which were installed over 50years ago have now outlived their lifespan and are due for replacement.

The minister spoke in his Abuja office while receiving the UAE Ambassador to Nigeria, Salem Saeed Al Shamsi and his delegation on a courtesy visit.

His words: “I want to use this opportunity to call on investors in the UAE to come to Nigeria.

Nigeria has enormous investments opportunities: our pipelines have been over 50 years.  Nigeria found oil in 1956-58, then till now is almost 70 years when those pipelines were built. So they have already outlived their lifespan. You need to evacuate to the terminals, where you go to export.

“So it is an opportunity. We are actually looking up to potential investors from UAE to come and invest here and then recover their money. The model is very attractive.”

Lokpobiri noted that the Federal Government is planning to ensure that the investors recover their fund from every barrel of crude oil they transport proportionately based on the mutual agreement of the two countries.

The minister, who described Nigeria as a more of a gas country that an oil country, noted that it would have exceed the over 20 years ago record of 208Trillion Cubic Feet (TCF) official record.

“We also have over 208TCF of gas and we in Nigeria know that these records are over 20 years,” he said.

 He added similarly, the Federal Government is confident that Nigeria has also exceeded its official 37billion barrels crude oil reserves since other African countries are discovering crude oil.

Lokpobiri said consequently, the government has resumed its drilling campaign for ramping up its crude oil discovery and also sustain the momentum.

The minister revealed that for the government to boost its crude oil production, it is putting measures in place to liberalize bureaucracy, which has been delaying investments in the industry.

He said, “We are achieving that by liberalizing the process. We are trying to reduce the bureaucracy that has been one of the reasons why these investments are delayed. We are trying to make things easier for those who want to invest to come in.”

He also noted that with the advent of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) can now operate commercially in a manner it could not do in the past.

Lokpobiri who expressed joy that UAE has resumed issuance of visa to Nigerians, added that the ministry is committed to deepening a strategic relationship with the Emirate.

He said the federal government is looking forward to seeing potential investors from UAE in the oil and gas which is the quickest way to get return on investment.

The minister was boastful that one cannot talk about the African market without the Nigerian oil and gas industry.

Stressing the market is huge, he said the investments could be in the Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) or any part of the entire value chain of the industry.

He agreed with the ambassador that the import and export portfolio between the two countries in terms of oil and gas is very low.

“Like you rightly said, there is not much import and export in Nigeria to UAE in terms of oil and gas investment,” he said, stressing that “I believe the time is now for us  to concretize our relationship and take opportunity to get investors from UAE.”

Lokpobiri, who admitted that Nigeria does not have the money, asked Al-Shamsi to ask Emirate companies to come and invest to their billions of dollars in thr giant of Africa.

“We don’t have the dollars but investors in UAE, you have the dollars in billions. You can come and invest it here and then recover your investment,” he admonished the envoy.

Speaking, Al Shamsi responded positively, stating, “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.”

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