Mobil, Other Oil Firms Not Exiting Nigeria -Kachikwu …As FG Gives Condition For Fuel Subsidy Removal

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The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, says that no International Oil Company (ICO) is planning to exit Nigeria contrary to reports in some section of the media.
Kachikwu made this known while briefing newsmen after facility tour of ExxonMobil Erha Floating Production Storage and Offloading vessels (FPSO) in Lagos yesterday.
“I have confirmed that it is not true, there are going to be here for a long stay, they will be here over the next 50 years, they are looking for more, they are doing all kinds of things, they just begun the exploration campaign first time in four years because of the new cash call policies we put in place.
“That is not a sign of somebody who is exiting. But different from not exiting is to be aggressive. ExxonMobil needs to be more aggressive in terms of development policies,’’ he said
He added that ExxonMobil needs to be more aggressive with business as Bonga Southwest was almost on FID, Egina just kicked off and Agip is struggling to get Zabzaba online.
“So, I need to see a very robust development,’’ he advised
Mr Richard Laing, ExxonMobil Executive Director, Production commended the minister for making out time to visit the facility and reiterated that the company had no plans to exit Nigeria.
“We are happy with Nigeria, We have our differences, and we don’t agree on everything, we are happy and content. We are delighted over the minister’s visit and we are happy that he has come back to his spiritual home.
“As the minister said, the corporation has been here for many years, we intend to stay, we have ambitious growth programmes to build wealth and grow business to make more profit, key into the gas commercialisation project.
“We fully support what the minister said and we look forward to working with him,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has given conditions for the removal of subsidy on premium motor spirit, also known as petrol.
The conditions include: provision of alternative cushioning measures mutually agreed between stakeholders to protect the economically vulnerable members of the population.
Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed, stated this at the press briefing marking the end of the 2019 Spring Meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, IMF, in Washington DC, USA, yesterday.
She however said the Federal Government is yet to arrive at such measures.
She said there is no immediate plan to remove fuel subsidy, contrary to speculations that have led to the emergence of fuel queues in some parts of the country.
According to her, “At the IMFC meetings, the Managing Director requested for a mandate to pursue some negotiations with Governors for temporary financing options for ensuring that the Fund remains adequately resourced by maintaining the current resource envelope of the Fund through borrowed resources. This arose partly due to the delay in completing the 15th general review of quotas.
“While Governors endorsed this position, we called for an ambitious timetable for the 16th General Review of quota which should result in increased quota shares for dynamic economies in line with their relative positions in the world economy, while protecting the voice and representation of the poorest members.”
She further called for the normalisation of trade relations among the contending parties and called for concerted efforts to support multilaterism and avoid protectionist sentiments.
She added, “There is no imminent plan to remove fuel subsidy. We are here to discuss with the global community on various policy issues.
“One of the issues that always come up in the report, especially by the IMF as a corporate body is how we handle fuel subsidies. IMF is saying fuel subsidies are better removed so that you can use the resources for other important sectors.
“In principle that is a fact. But in Nigeria, we don’t have plans to remove fuel subsidy at this time because we have not yet designed buffers that can enable us remove fuel subsidy and provide cushions for our people. So there is no plan to remove fuel subsidy.
“We will be discussing with various groups . If we have to, what are the alternatives? We have not yet found viable alternatives . So we are not yet at the point of removing fuel subsidy.
“We also met with the World Bank Power Sector team and discussed the way forward on the Proposed USD1 billion Nigeria Performance Based Loan (PBL). We agreed to bring relevant MDAs together to ensure that we advance this in a timely manner.
“We will also discuss the Country Portfolio Performance of Nigeria which currently stands at $9.8 billion with the Nigerian Country team at the World Bank and how we could manage the portfolio for optimum results.”