FG: TotalEnergies Has Invested Almost $30bn in Nigeria within Eight Years

* Lampoons Shell, Chevron, ExxonMobil for not investing enough in country’s oil, gas sector  

*Nigeria remains at the heart of our strategy, says multinational oil company  

*Declares interest to expand into electricity sector

Peter Uzoho

The federal government has disclosed that French oil major, TotalEnergies EP Nigeria Limited, has invested almost $30 billion in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector within the space of eight years. It said the company had made a lot of investments in developing the country’s oil resources since it began operation in the last 60 years.

The government criticised Shell, ExxonMobil and Chevron – three of the five oil majors in the country – over their apparent withdrawal from investing further in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector, urging them to emulate TotalEnergies’ sustained investments in the country and resume their investments.

Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Mr. Simbi Wabote, made the assertions at the weekend in Lagos, at the TotalEnergies’ EP Nigeria’s 60th anniversary dinner.
The French oil giant said Nigeria remained at the heart of its strategy, and indicated plans to expand its business into the country’s electricity sector. It stressed that the sector offered exciting opportunities that it would like to explore.

Wabote said TotalEnergies had invested immensely in Nigeria and deserved commendation for remaining consistent in investing in the country’s oil sector. He said with the amount of investments TotalEnergies had put into the country’s oil and gas sector since its entrance into the space, there was no basis for comparing it with that of Shell, Chevron and ExxonMobil.

Wabote stated, “Total has invested so much in Nigeria since the last 60 years. At the last count, we are looking at almost $30 billion worth of investment in Nigeria within a space of eight years.

“The amount of money Total has invested in this country, when you compare that with other IOCs, like Shell, Chevron, ExxonMobil, there is no basis for comparison.”

Specifically criticising Shell for refusing to invest to develop the protracted Bonga Southwest project, which had been on the drawing board for many decades, Wabote said on the other hand, TotalEnergies had started and completed many projects that were producing oil and gas in the country.

Bonga Southwest is among the oil assets that the government has been banking on to achieve its plan of increasing Nigeria’s oil reserves and production.

According to Wabote, “We started discussing Bonga Southwest before I was born, Total took FID – (Final Investment Decision) on Usan. We were still discussing Bonga Southwest when I got married, Total took FID on Egina. We were still discussing Bonga Southwest, when I had my first child, Total took FID on Ikike. I will go on and on and on.”

The executive secretary argued that his job as local content chief executive would not have existed if there was no project, adding that he needs no apology for praising companies keeping him on the service through undertaking projects that create value for the country.

Wabote added, “Let me use Total to challenge Shell. Unfortunately, I’ve not seen Chevron here and I’ve not seen ExxonMobil. I will use Total to continue to challenge them. Total is also one of the investors of NLNG Train 7, which is about the most important investment in the whole of the country.

“So, we should understand what Total is doing. This is a celebration that we should all partake, for keeping faith in this country, remaining in this country for 60 years is no mean feat. I encourage you to, please, remain with us.”

In his address, President, Exploration and Production, TotalEnergies Group, Mr. Nicolas Terraz, assured that Nigeria remained at the heart of the company’s strategy, pledging to continue investing in the country. Terraz said with the company’s first oil discovery in 1964, and the subsequent commencement of production from the Obagi field, TotalEnergies E&P took its first steps into a future that was yet to unfold.

According to him, with new fields and increased productivity, the company has continued to expand and evolve, leading to its current position as the second largest operator in Nigeria, accounting for 20 per cent of the country’s oil and gas production.

He maintained that TotalEnergies was a major player and a proud partner with Nigeria in developing its oil and gas sector, noting that they have developed a number of projects over the years.
Terraz said the company was in the final stages of the Ikike project, a project he described as key for its Nigerian affiliate to demonstrate the viability of tie-backs to existing fields.

He stated, “A lot of progress has been made, but I know there are a lot of challenges as we near the end. I am counting on the project team, and, indeed, all the affiliates, to apply yourselves to overcome these challenges and deliver the production safely.

“As a company, we have shown a unique commitment to Nigeria. Indeed, the country remains at the heart of our strategy. Nigeria has a lot of potential, but as for Ikike, it is not always ‘plain sailing’, so we all have to perform at our best to continue the adventure.”  

He said the group had strived to become the industry benchmark for Nigerian content as demonstrated by the flagship Egina project, where they set new standards, sharing their technological expertise with the oil and gas industry.

The TotalEnergies president hailed the passage of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), saying while bringing some much-needed clarity for the industry, it has also brought changes to the regulatory, fiscal and operating environment in the country.

As a responsive organisation, Terraz said the energy group must re-engineer its processes and structure to be able to adapt and face the new challenges while taking advantage of the opportunities.
Terraz expressed excitement at the opportunities that abounded in Nigeria, and indicated the intention of TotalEnergies to expand into the Nigerian electricity sector.

He noted that considering the increasing energy demand of a rapidly growing population and the need to address climate change, their objective was to meet energy needs through an energy mix that was less carbon intensive.
He stated, “Of course, we continue to believe in hydrocarbons. Gas development for NLNG and domestic usage will remain a bedrock of our activities while we concentrate our investments in low cost, low emission oil.

“Electricity offers an exciting opportunity in Nigeria, and it is an area which we would like to explore while also expanding the scope of our company to renewables. I know you are working on this.”

Speaking also, Managing Director of TotalEnergies EP Nigeria and Chairman of TotalEnergies Companies in Nigeria, Mr. Mike Sangster, said the company would continue to collaborate with the government, its partners, and other stakeholders to help to further develop the country’s huge hydrocarbon potential.

Sangster said TotalEnergies was proud to be the second largest oil and gas producer in Nigeria, contributing 20 per cent of Nigeria’s oil production. He said behind the numbers were over 1,166 Nigerian workforce, several billion dollars’ investments into the Nigerian economy in recent years, and five production sites.

Sangster added that the partnership between TotalEnergies and Nigeria had been a very successful one, pointing out, however, that the journey has not always been smooth.

He singled out security as a very serious issue currently facing the company that needed to be addressed by the authorities, noting that the situation “is greatly reducing our onshore production.
“So, we have had our fair share of challenges to overcome, but what I’ve seen personally over the past three years is that when our teams, all our teams, put their heads together, there is no problem that cannot be resolved.”

On her part, Managing Director, Deepwater Operation, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCO), Mrs. Elohor Aiboni, while reacting to the challenge Wabote posed to Shell and other IOCs, stated that it was not only for Shell but for all IOCs existing in Nigeria.

Noting that Nigeria was a good place to do business, Aiboni stated that they looked forward to more investments from all IOCs. 

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