31 July 2012, Sweetcrude, Abuja – A major milestone was on Tuesday recorded in the oil and gas sector of the economy with the taking over of Oil Mining Lease (OML) 34 by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and ND Western from Shell, Total and Agip as part of measures to grow the in-country upstream capacity of the petroleum industry.
Speaking during the signing of Memorandum of Understanding at the NNPC Towers, the Group Managing Director of the Corporation, Andrew Yakubu said the historic event would give indigenous companies especially its subsidiary, Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), the impetus to become an active player in the upstream sector of the oil and gas sector.
“I want to thank the President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan and the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke for championing the growth of the in-country capacity in the upstream sector,” Yakubu stated.
He revealed that before now, the in-country participation was less than 10% in the upstream particularly among Nigerian oil companies .
Yakubu maintained that this was the 4th divestment platform by the international oil companies and would help to bolster the 250,000 barrels per day growth aspiration of the NPDC.
According to him, “With these pragmatic steps, Mr. President has helped us in growing the NPDC and we are optimistic that come 2015, we would be able to achieve our target”.
The NNPC helmsman hinted that the move would lead to the birth of many indigenous companies in the petroleum sector and assured that the new partnership with ND Western would usher the industry into another phase that would increase revenue flow into the economy.
Responding on behalf of the IOCs, the Managing Director of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), Mr. Mutiu Sumonu assured that the divestment did not mean that the IOCs were leaving the country stressing that they were here for the long run.
In his remarks, the Managing Director ND Western, Dr. Layi Fatona said this was a high profile opportunity given to his company and pledged their support to work with NPDC to grow its capacity.
OML 34 is located in the western division of SPDC with NNPC-NPDC owning 55% and ND Western 45%.
The GMD, NNPC signed on behalf of NNPC-NPDC while Mr. Mutiu Sumonu signed for Shell Joint Venture, Dr. Layi Fatona signed for ND Western.
The divested field was owned by Shell, Total and Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC).