FG woos Spanish investors for seven oil blocs

The Federal Government on Thursday wooed Spanish investors to invest in Nigeria’s 2022 deep offshore mini-bid round, as it also announced that Spain would support Nigeria with security in the oil and gas sector.

It wooed the investors during a meeting between the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain, Jose Albares, who led a large delegation of key investors from his country to Abuja.

The meeting also had senior officials of the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, as well as chief executives of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, and Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, in attendance.

The NUPRC had on Wednesday announced the commencement of the 2022 deep offshore mini-bid round, as it promised that the bid process would be competitive and transparent.

In his address at the meeting on Thursday, Sylva said, “As a country, we need all the investments we require. The oil and gas sector is at the core of our economy, and coming to the country with all these array of investors, it is a major investment opportunity for Nigeria.

“For the (Spanish) minister to come with these array of potential investors, then I’m sure that we have potential of having a lot of investments coming into Nigeria from now. The NUPRC has already pitched, they are already in the process of having a bid round.

“And with these number of potential investors on the table, who are people that they (NUPRC) ordinarily would have to meet in their country. Usually, before any bid round, you will have a road show.”

Sylva added, “What is the road show about? You are supposed to go and meet your investors. But in this case, the potential investors are here by themselves. So you can see why this meeting, for us, is very important.

“As a country, we need a lot of investments, we need FDIs (foreign direct investments) and Spain is one country that we believe can give us a lot of that investment to help in the development of this country. This is more of an economic diplomacy.”

The minister said the Federal Government was also looking up to Spain for the development of the abundant gas resources in Nigeria.

He said, “We are focused on the development of gas. We have a lot of gas resources and we need these resources to be developed. I told the Spanish minister that today we have proven gas reserves of over 200 trillion cubic feet of gas.

“We also believe that with focused exploration for gas, we can increase this reserves to about 600TCF. How do we develop this gas? We need investors and Spain is one country that we are looking towards to bring the investments into this sector.

“It is going to be a win-win for both countries, because Europe also requires the gas. We’ve always been shouting that energy transition programme should be more mindful of the development of gas as well.”

Sylva noted that there was a clamour from some sources to move so quickly to renewables, but stated that as a country, Nigeria felt that it was going to move on the transition train with the instrumentality of gas.

“The rest of the world have also come to see that there is a need for us to tarry a while with gas. So it is mutual on the part of both countries for us to develop the gas resources that we have,” he stated.

On Security, he said the foreign nation would be supporting Nigeria with technology to protect to oil and gas sector.

Sylva said, “We have also had discussions on strong support that we would require from them in the area of security. The biggest problem today in the oil and gas sector is security and, of course, Spain is in position to also support us in this area.

“So, in the areas of investment and technology we are going to be looking up to Spain. And Spain looks up to us for further supply of gas. We are also developing a pipeline to Morocco and I believe that it is going to settle this issue of gas supply from Nigeria to Europe.”

On his part, the Spanish foreign affairs minister said Nigeria was his country’s first supplier in petroleum and gas combined, adding that Spain was the second trade partner of Nigeria.

Albares said, “I want to commend the reliability and stability of Nigeria as our supplier. You are a trustful partner. I want to thank the minister who has informed me of the evolution and opportunities of this sector here in Nigeria.

“Nigeria has proven once again that it is a friend and trustworthy partner in this very complex setting – the energy market in the world. Now we have worked out some aspects to develop this bilateral relationship on energy and also in all the aspects that I have been dealing with today here in Abuja.”


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