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Shell mulls $15bn investment surge in Nigeria

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Shell mulls $15bn investment surge in Nigeria

Oil giant, Royal Dutch Shell, is mulling additional $15 billion investment in Nigeria. The company, which is the biggest international oil company (IOC) in Nigeria in terms of assets and oil production volume, a document sighted by New Telegraph at the weekend showed, would put the investments on offshore acreages in the country as well as increase in funding for its Liquefied Natural Gas. Shell, however, said that it did not rule out further divestment in the onshore fields where it held sway for decades.

Citing the Bonga South West Aparo project as part of the investment plan, Shell said it had met with President Muhammadu Buhari in London as part of talks for the country to secure the $15billion of investment. The Presidency had also confirmed this in a statement, stating that the President was excited by the talks of $15 billion investment.

“I saw Shell Group, they came here, they saw me, they are preparing to invest $15 billion in Nigeria… so, really, we are not doing too badly,” Buhari told CNBC. He was speaking as part of a panel on the ease of doing business between Commonwealth countries. Shell confirmed to CNBC that the meeting had taken place, but did not comment on the size of the specific investment.

“Nigeria is an important country for Shell. We see good opportunities there for potential investment,” a spokesperson for Shell said in a statement, referencing its Bonga offshore oil field and the expansion of liquefied natural gas as examples of this.

“Both projects are subject to a future final investment decision and we continue to work with our partners and government towards that in each case,” added. The company added that it did not rule out divestment in onshore field as part of funding model for the new investments.

A former Minister of State for Petroleum, Mr. Odein Ajumogobia, had earlier stated that all the onshore oil blocks belonging to Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and nine other blocks sold to indigenous operators by the oil giant and its partners would expire by 2019.

Ajumogobia, who is also the Chairman of First Exploration & Petroleum Development Company Limited (First E & P), which paid $300 million to Shell and partners for 45 per cent stake in OML 71 and 72, listed the divested assets expiring in 2019 to include Oil Mining Leases (OMLs) 18, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 34, 40, and 42. In 2011, Neconde Energy paid $585 million to Shell, Total and Eni to acquire their 45 per cent stake in OML 42. Shoreline Energy Resources paid $850 million to Shell and its partners for their 45 per cent stake in OML 30. Eland Oil paid $154 million for Shell, Total and Eni’s 45 per cent stake in OML 40; ND Western paid $600 million for OML 34; while First Hydrocarbon Nigeria, partly owned by Afren paid $98 million to acquire Shell’s 30 per cent interest in OML 26. Under the more recent divestment, Erotron Consortium paid $1.2 billion to Shell, Total and Agip for 45 per cent stake in OML 18; Pan Ocean paid $900 million for OML 24. Creststar Consortium paid initial deposit of $100 million of the $500 million bid price for OML 25 before the NNPC came forward to exercise its right of first refusal, an action being challenged in the court by the Canadian firm-backed consortium. Of greater significance in the wave of divestments was the $2.562 billion paid to Shell, Total and Agip by Aiteo-led consortium for the plum OML 29 and the Nembe Creek Trunkline.

Meanwhile, Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL), Operator of the Joint Venture with the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), has denied the alleged transfer of its interest in Oil Mining Lease 11 (OML) in Yorla Field, eastern Niger Delta to an investor.

A recent report (not in New Telegraph) had said otherwise. General Manager, Policy, Government and Public Affairs, Esimaje Brikinn, said in a statement at the weekend that Chevron did not have any equity in OML 11 as alleged in a recent report. A group, the Ken Saro Wiwa Associates (KSWA), had alleged a plot by a minister “to unilaterally transfer CNL’s interest in the Yorla Oil Field (OML 11–Ogoni Fields) to an anonymous company in which he has interest.”

CNL, Brikinn however said, has 40 per cent equity in OML 51 in Rivers State in which the Yorla South Field is located. He disclosed that Chevron was not soliciting for expressions of interest (EoIs) for any of its assets. “While CNL regularly reviews its asset portfolio to seek opportunities for optimising its businesses, any decision on acquisitions or divestitures will be made after following its established processes,” he said.

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