The CEO of Total, Patrick Pouyanne, on Monday called on Nigeria to issue new exploration licences, saying the country’s oil and gas sector had been dormant in recent years in terms of exploration and new projects.
He said uncertainties and the ongoing discussions over Nigeria’s oil industry regulation, the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) has made the oil sector dormant for years.
Assent to the PIB was declined last year by President Muhammadu Buhari over what the Presidency said were contentious provisions in the bill. Nigeria last had a round of exploration licenses tenders in 2011.
Pouyanne said, “I hope the new government that will come after the election will launch new tenders for awarding new exploration licenses.”
He also disclosed that Total will approve plans to proceed with the Ikike project in Nigeria in the coming months, adding that the oil giant also aims to expand its liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in the country.
Total is one of the strongest players in the African oil sector, holding more proven reserves on the continent than any of the other top global oil companies, according to Reuters.
Total’s Egina FPSO
The 60,000 barrels-per-day (bpd) Ikike project is one of several projects the group has earmarked on in Nigeria for a final investment decision, including the 70,000 bpd deepwater Preowei project, which would help Total increase its oil production.
“There is a huge potential in Nigeria, it is probably the most prolific country in west Africa in terms of oil and gas and it is time to launch new projects and we are working on many of them,” Pouyanne told journalists on the sidelines of a meeting of Nigerian and French businesses in Paris.
He said Total also have the Preowei on the same area as Egina offshore Nigeria, adding that the company was working on connecting Preowei to Egina. The 200,000bpd Egina field began production on the 30th of December, 2018, according to the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, in his 2018 end year message.
On the planned expansion of Total’s Nigerian LNG project this year, Pouyanne said, “The market is very good today to do that, it is a very interesting project and the partners are in line to develop it.”
Nigerians will hold a general election in on February 16 to elect a new president. Incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari is seeking a second term.