Houston - International Oil Companies (IOCs) operating in Nigeria may divest
more than $11.5 billion (about N1.9 trillion) worth of oil blocs by
the end of this year, Petroleum Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke has
The oil blocks account for about 2.2 billion barrels of crude worth about $5
billion or N840 billion.
The minister, who made the disclosure at the ongoing Offshore Technology
Conference (OTC) in Houston, Texas, however, allayed fears that the situation
could lead to crisis in Nigeria.
Alison-Madueke, represented by the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Andrew
Yakubu, said: “The divestment in the upstream sector of the oil industry
by IOCs such as Shell, Total, Agip, Chevron and ConocoPhilips have continued to
create an opportunity for participation in the industry by the Nigerian private
“The divestment campaign was highly competitive and attracted interest from
a number of indigenous and foreign companies.
“At the end of this, the total number of blocks that are likely to be
divested is estimated to exceed 20 with not less than 4 billion barrels of oil
equivalent and a monetary value of about $11.5 billion.”
Giving reasons for the divestment, the minister said “the fact is that a
number of the IOCs are moving into more challenging frontiers in the deep
offshore and are leaving the onshore blocks, which they consider less
"In addition, some of them have been sitting on oil blocks and have allowed
the acreage to go fallow for years without significant development,” she said.
Divestment in Nigeria, according to her, signifies a shift in IOC’s strategy
toward the offshore which now accounts for at least 60 per cent of Nigeria’s
The minister, however, assured that the IOC’s remain very much present
in Nigeria as Shell still retains ownership in 34 onshore blocks while Total,
ExxonMobil and Chevron are still committing large amounts of capital to assets
She said that Nigeria’s oil production had remained steady at about two
million barrels per day, representing approximately 2.4 per cent of global
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