Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, has denied knowledge of reports that oil giant, ExxonMobil, “is set to leave Nigeria.”
The minister spoke with correspondents yesterday during the opening of 2019 Nigeria Oil and Gas Opportunity Fair in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, hosted by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB).
Kachikwu said in Yenagoa that he had not been officially informed by the oil company of any plan to leave the country.
ExxonMobil was reportedly planning to sell its offshore and onshore assets in Nigeria, three years after it exited the downstream sector, and leave the country.
“I am not aware of that. I have not been officially informed. You saw the chairman of ExxonMobil today talking about their long-term plan and he didn’t mention that.
“Obviously, we will engage them, whether this is true or not. I am connected enough to the ExxonMobil system worldwide and I haven’t seen anything like that. It will be a bit of surprise to me and I would not believe this until I am sure,” he said.
Earlier, the minister had called on Nigerians to take full advantage of the opportunities that abound in the Nigerian oil and gas sector for the benefit of all Nigerians.
In his welcome address, executive secretary of NCDMB, Simbi Wabote, reinstated the commitment of the board to further drive policies that encourage modular refineries in Nigeria as one of the measures to support local manufacturers in the oil and gas sector.
Wabote said: “In our pursuit to ensure that critical infrastructure are domiciled in Nigeria, NCDMB has identified technical capacity development as one of the strategic areas for our 10-year development plan.
“Some of the key initiatives of the board in the area of infrastructure include the Nigerian oil and gas scheme and the research development. That is why we are excited that the ministry of petroleum has domiciled a ‘Project 100’ management office in NCDMB, an initiative we truly believe in to develop human capacity for the industry. “
Over 1,000 delegates from the oil and gas sector attended the fair, themed ‘Maximising Investments in the Oil and Gas Industry for the Benefit of Nigerian People’.