Abuja - Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) has debunked speculations that it plans to pull out of Nigeria.
Mr Mutiu Sunmonu, the Managing Director of Shell, debunked the speculations during the sale of its Oil Mining Lease (OML) 34 to Niger Delta Western Ltd. in Abuja on Tuesday.
``I will like to seize this opportunity to reiterate the fact that divestment of some of these assets does not mean Shell is exiting Nigeria.
``A lot of people still equate this to mean that Shell is leaving Nigeria. We are not leaving Nigeria. We are here for the long run.’’
He stressed that the sale of oil blocs was meant to give smaller oil companies, especially the indigenous ones, the opportunity to grow and flourish.
`` We believe that having operated here for over 50 years; we should start to give opportunities to indigenous companies, especially in smaller fields.
``With all sense of modesty, by our size, we should not be struggling with small oil companies for small producing fields,’’ he said.
He said with the completion of the divestment plan and sale of oil blocs, Shell would now concentrate on more complex and capital intensive projects in Nigeria.
The Shell boss urged the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) and the Niger Delta Western Ltd., to ensure the development of the oil and gas well.
Mr Andrew Yakubu, the Group Managing Director of NNPC, said the initiative was part of the Federal Government’s plan to build indigenous participation in the upstream sector.
He decried the low level of indigenous participation in the upstream sector, adding that less than 10 per cent participation was presently recorded.
``In-country capacity growth has been very low; in fact it is less than 10 per cent participation.
``This is in spite of the endowment of this natural resource for many years. This has not been encouraging at all,’’ he said.
He said the NNPC was committed to growing the NPDC to produce 250,000 barrels per day by 2015.
Dr Layi Fatona, the Managing Director, Niger Delta Western, said the company was ready to explore the oil bloc for the development of the nation.
He described the asset as rich in oil and gas and assured that the company would fast-track gas supply from it in line with the gas to power project.
OML34 is located in the western division with a number of fields which includes Oturogu and Ughelli gas fields.
The NPDC will now have 55 per cent equity while Niger Delta Western has 45 per cent.
The signing of the Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) was also witnessed by Total and Agip.