The oil giant says it is disposing of some of its oil blocs to allow for the growth of smaller operators.
Chevron Nigeria Limited, CNL, one of the leading multi-national exploration and production operators in the Nigerian oil and gas industry said on Thursday that its decision to dispose of part of its interest in two oil mining leases is to prioritize its portfolio and allow smaller operators opportunity to grow.
Chevron had announced on Tuesday that it was selling its 40-percent interest in two Nigerian oil blocks, oil mining leases (OMLs) 83 and 85 located in the country’s shallow waters off the coast of Bayelsa State.
The oil blocks operated as a joint venture with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC covers the Madu and Anyala oil fields reputed to hold oil reserves in excess of 250 million barrels of oil and over 3.5billion cubic feet of gas.
The General Manager, Policy, Government and Public Affairs, Deji Haastrup, told PREMIUM TIMES on Wednesday that the decision has nothing to do speculations making the rounds that Chevron is contemplating a move away from Nigeria to more favourable investment destinations.
Mr. Haastrup, who would not disclose how much the company realized from the transaction, said the disposal of the interests is part of Chevron’s continuous evaluation of opportunities and the need to prioritize its portfolio to enable it focus its resources and capacities towards growing Nigeria ‘s production output.
“We are a big company with a large asset base. We believe there are smaller companies who would find these asset a perfect fit for their business profile and portfolio. Chevron is in Nigeria for the long term. Our interests in oil and gas continue to grow with new projects such as the EGTL coming on stream soon. We will continue to make sound business decisions based on our continuous evaluation of opportunities available to us,” he said.
Chevron, which is ranked as Nigeria’s third largest E&P multinational oil company behind Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, and ExxonMobil Corporation, currently produces about 238,000 barrels of crude oil per day, according to available industry records.
The sale is the latest by some of the major oil companies that have been disposing some of their Nigerian assets amid allegations of uncertainty in the country’s oil and gas industry, in the face of the long delay in the completion of the process to review existing policies, as well as regulations and operational terms in the proposed Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) currently pending passage by the National Assembly.
Shell has also been selling its stakes in several onshore blocks. The company has also blamed crude oil theft and sabotage in the Niger Delta region for a major drop in its production in Nigerian.