The Federal Government has called on International Oil Companies (IOCs) operating in the country to invest in the building of refineries in the country as part of effort to reduce importation of petroleum products.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu who stated this on Tuesday while meeting with top executives of ExxonMobil at the company’s corporate headquarter in the United States, commended the corporation for its enduring partnership with Nigeria over the years.
A press statement signed by the Director of Press in the Ministry, Idang Alibi, said the Minister used the opportunity of the visit to make a case for deepening investment in the oil and gas sector by the IOCs.
“The Honourable Minister of State restated the efforts of the Federal Government aimed at reducing importation of petroleum products. This effort will be boosted if major IOC partners operating in Nigeria invest in building signature refineries to be run on joint venture basis with the Federal Government providing the necessary needed incentives,” part of the statement reads.
According to the statement, the Minister who reiterated the gains that have been made in the sector through the signing of the repayment agreement for the Joint Venture Cash Call in 2016, further clarified that the initial payments to the IOCs would be made by the end of April 2017 and that it would be expedient if the IOCs reciprocate the Federal Government’s gesture and commitment by ensuring that they ramp up investments in the country’s Oil and Gas sector.
He also encouraged ExxonMobil to invest in more practical deliveries in the area of human capital development and investment in local growth of skill sets required in the Oil and Gas sector.
Responding Paul Greenwood, ExxonMobil’s Vice President America, Asia Pacific & Africa New Market said, his company recognized the valued partnership with Nigeria and noble work of the Minister to ensure the development and growth of Nigeria’s Oil and Gas sector.
He further reiterated ExxonMobil’s commitment to help deliver power to Nigeria and support the Gas commercialization program of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Petroleum Resources has described the meeting of the Minister with ExxonMobil as part of the ongoing investment drive initiative embarked on by the Minister to International Oil Companies (IOCs) as part of efforts to actualize the objectives of the short and medium term program, 7 Big Wins launched last year which aimed at reviving the oil and gas sector.
The Director of Press stated that the first of such meetings was with Italian IOC giant Eni in January 2017 where the Italian Company pledged to work with Nigeria to revamp the Port Harcourt Refinery. Other IOCs scheduled to be visited during include Shell, Chevron and Total.