— The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu made it known that none of the International Oil Companies, IOCs, operating in Nigeria is leaving the country anytime soon.
— The Minister made it known that the courtesy visit was made to encourage the company and help to solve their challenges.
The Minister gave the confirmatory speech while he was addressing newsmen immediately after touring the facilities of ExxonMobil’s Erha Floating Production Storage and Offloading vessels (FPSO) on Sunday in Lagos State.
The Minister further confirmed that it was not possible for a company as large as ExxonMobil to suddenly sell off its assets and move out of the country.
The minister only charged ExxonMobil to be more aggressive and proactive in its dealings and policies. And that he was expecting robust development within the company as soon as possible.
In the words of the Minister, “I have confirmed that it is not true; they are going to be here for a long stay; they will be here over the next 50 years; they are looking for more; they are doing all kinds of things; they just begun the exploration campaign first time in four years because of the new cash call policies we put in place.
“That is not a sign of somebody who is exiting. But different from not exiting is to be aggressive. ExxonMobil needs to be more aggressive in terms of development policies,’’ he mentioned.
He also mentioned that the reason why he visited ExxonMobil’s FPSO was that he intended to encourage the organization, and see to how he could help solve the challenges of the company. He also intended to draw the attention of the nation and the international community to challenges of the company.
“First is to draw attention to the very complex and complication of operations of FPSOs when we do production offshore.
“This is about 100 km from land, and part of the thing I am doing this month is visiting some of them, including Egina that is just recently buoyed in different location and the one of Agip.
“I am here to look at what they are doing, to encourage them to continue the fantastic work they are doing and also discuss with them what their problems are,’’ he added.
The Executive Director of Production if ExxonMobil, Mr. Richard Laing, thanked the minister for the courtesy visit and finding time to visit the facility. He also confirmed that the company had no plans to leave Nigeria anytime soon.
Mr Laing said: “We are happy with Nigeria, We have our differences; we don’t agree on everything, we are happy and contented. We are delighted over the minister’s visit and we are happy that he has come back to his spiritual home.
“As the minister said, the corporation has been here for many years; we intend to stay; we have ambitious growth programmes to build wealth and grow business to make more profit, key into the gas commercialisation project.
“We fully support what the minister said and we look forward to working with him,’’ he concluded.