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Economic downturn: We’ll not abandon Nigeria, Says ExxonMobil

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By Kayode Sanni-Arewa

The Managing Director, ExxonMobil Nigeria, Shane Harris, has declared that the oil major is not leaving Nigeria as claimed in some quarters, particularly after the oil firm’s proposed divestment of a 100 per cent interest in Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited to Seplat Energy Offshore Limited.

Harris, who disclosed this at a meeting with the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, in Abuja, stated that ExxonMobil is currently carrying out new investments in the oil and gas sector in Nigeria.

The Special Assistant on Media and Communications to the petroleum minister, Nneamaka Okafor, disclosed this in a statement issued in Abuja on Monday.

“During the meeting, Mr Harris hinted at significant new investments that ExxonMobil is injecting into Nigeria’s energy sector.

“He expressed confidence in the renewed relationship between ExxonMobil and the Nigerian government, assuring the government that the oil giant is not planning to leave Nigeria,” the statement read.

It further quoted the ExxonMobil boss as saying, “We are excited about the prospects these new investments bring. Our partnership with the Nigerian government is crucial for sustainable growth, and we look forward to continuing our collaboration as we have no plan to leave.

On his part, Lokpobiri reaffirmed the Federal Government’s commitment to enhancing production and fostering a conducive environment for investors in the energy sector.

He highlighted the ministry’s focus on creating collaborations and sharing innovative ideas with international oil companies, stating that “we are dedicated to ramping up production and ensuring a supportive environment for all investors by doing everything possible to maintain investor confidence in our country.”

Lokpobiri commended the ExxonMobil team for their commitment in the Nigerian oil and gas sector, noting that it aligned perfectly with the nation’s objectives.

“ExxonMobil’s planned investments are commendable and greatly appreciated. This renewed relationship is a testament to the mutual goals we share for the future of our energy sector,” the minister stated.

The statement added that the discussions by both parties also touched on the ministry’s support for international and independent oil operators.

Lokpobiri assured Harris of the government’s support, emphasising the importance of creating a thriving environment for all stakeholders.

We fully support ExxonMobil and other lOCs, just as we do with independent operators. Our collaborative efforts are key to the sustainable growth of our energy sector,” he stated.

On May 31, 2024, The reported that Nigeria might add 480,000 barrels to its daily crude oil output as the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited and ExxonMobil took a step towards resolving the disagreement surrounding the sale of the latter’s asset to Seplat Energy.

The report stated that NNPC confirmed it had signed a settlement agreement with ExxonMobil companies in Nigeria over the proposed divestment of a 100 per cent interest in Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited to Seplat Energy Offshore Limited.

This was after President Bola Tinubu announced his intervention in the debacle between NNPC and ExxonMobil hindering the sale of the assets to Seplat.

Lokpobiri said recently that Nigeria had lost about $30bn in the past two and a half years as a result of the unsuccessful divestment.

The minister expressed concerns that Nigeria was losing about 480,000 barrels of crude oil per day due to the Seplat/ExxonMobil crisis.

He said the asset was producing about 600,000bpd until the crisis began in 2022, saying the nation was losing millions of dollars daily.

The reported earlier that ExxonMobil and Seplat Energy had in 2022 announced a $1.6bn sales agreement deal that would see Seplat purchase ExxonMobil’s complete shares in the NNPC.

However, just when all hopes were high for the completion of the deal, a letter dated May 16, 2022, by the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission to ExxonMobil, stated that the deal could no longer hold because NNPC had exercised its right of pre-emption first refusal on the assets.

Right of pre-emption is a legal right to parties in a joint venture to be the first to be considered for any planned sale or takeover of assets in the JVs if either party chooses to trade them off.

According to reports, NNPC objected to the sale of ExxonMobil’s equity to Seplat and insisted on exercising its first refusal right after which the company reportedly made an offer above $1.6bn to ExxonMobil

But after about two years of litigation, there seems to be an end in sight to the crisis.

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Just in: Residents warned as hundreds of terrorists reportedly escape from Niger prison

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By Kayode Sanni-Arewa

A large number of terrorists have reportedly escaped in a mass breakout at the high-security Koutoukalé prison in Niger Republic.

According to security expert Zagazola Makama, the incident happened on Thursday, resulting in the release of hundreds of terrorists, criminals, and drug traffickers.

The prison, situated near Niamey, the capital city, experienced a violent uprising that overwhelmed the guards, enabling the prisoners to escape with weapons and vehicles.

Witnesses said they heard gunfire and explosions around the afternoon time, which prompted a swift response from security forces.

However, by the time they arrived, the inmates had already taken control of the prison, breaching armored gates, barbed wire, and trenches.

The escape has raised serious questions about the security of the prison, which has previously thwarted two jihadist attempts to free comrades.

An investigation is underway to determine how the inmates were able to procure weapons and overpower their guards.

The Interior Minister has issued a radio message to all governors, confirming the escape and urging village chiefs and religious leaders to report any suspicious individuals.

A curfew has been declared in the Tillabéri region, and the entire River Niger region is on high alert.

The escape is considered a major security breach, and authorities are working to recapture the fleeing inmates.

The public has been warned to be vigilant and report any information that could aid in the recapture of the escaped prisoners.

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See photo of collapsed Saint Academy school in Jos

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By Kayode Sanni-Arewa

The photo of the collapsed Saint Academy school in Jos, capital of Plateau state has emerged online.

Naijablitznews reports many students reportedly died in the building warehousing several students.

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Singer, Portable Fights Okada Man in Lagos Over Stolen Phone

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By Kayode Sanni-Arewa

Controversial Nigerian singer Habeeb Okikiola, better known as Portable, is at it again, but this time with a bike man.

The street singer, who recently returned from America, caused a commotion in Lagos as he fought dirty with a bike man, who he accused of stealing his phone. In videos making rounds online, the singer, who was wearing a yellow hoodie, was captured engaging in a fistfight with the bike man as Lagosians gathered to separate them.

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