The French government says it has set aside about one billion euros to invest in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry, to strengthen its economic relations in Africa.
France’s Ambassador to Nigeria, Denys Gauer, disclosed this when the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Ndu Ughamadu, visited him in his office in Abuja.
Mr. Gauer, who named Nigeria as France’s first economic trading partner in Africa, said the French Development Agency has already packaged about one billion Euros to encourage French investors to invest in the Nigerian oil and gas sector.
He said some of the French companies interested in coming to do business in Nigeria include investors currently developing wind and solar energy solutions in Katsina State.
He said the French government was also cooperating with the Nigerian government in its fight against Boko Haram insurgency in the north eastern part of the country.
While commending the Federal Government for stemming the Niger Delta insecurity situation, the envoy noted that Total, a French oil and gas Company already operating in Nigeria, had significant investment equity in the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited, NLNG and Egina projects.
The Nigeria LNG is a multi-billion dollar company owned by four shareholders, namely, the NNPC holding equity on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria (49%), Shell BV (25.6%), Total LNG Nigeria Limited (15%) and ENI (10.4%).
The six trains plant has the capacity to produce 22 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) of liquefied natural gas, LNG, and five MTPA of natural gas liquids, NGLs (LPG and Condensate) from 3.5 billion standard cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of natural gas intake.
The ambassador said he was concerned that other French companies already in the country were grappling with challenges associated with unclear fiscal policies guiding operations in the oil and gas sector.
Earlier, the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division of NNPC, Ughamadu, said the Corporation under the current management led by the Group Managing Director, Maikanti Baru, was well positioned and open to fresh investments from the French Government and investors.
Mr. Ughamadu said with the significant drop in pipeline vandalism and other insecurity issues that had dissuaded investments to boost oil production in the industry in the five years, global investors, such as the French Government, could take full advantage of.
He identified possible opportunities to include renewable energy, gas and power infrastructural development, pipeline construction, storage facility and the direct sales and direct purchase of Nigeria crude oil grades.
“The NNPC as the state-owned oil and gas Corporation has global operations. We want closer collaboration between the French Government and the Corporation, especially in the area of consular services, to enable NNPC top executives and staff meet their global engagements,” he said.
Mr. Ughamadu thanked the ambassador for receiving the NNPC delegation and assured that with the leadership of the new NNPC management, the Corporation was determined to develop a robust business atmosphere for investors interested in doing business in Nigeria.
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