The Federal Government has said that it would pay the first tranche of the $5.1 billion cash call arrears due to International Oil Companies (IOCs) under its Joint Venture (JV) model by end of April.
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Ibe Kachikwu, disclosed this at a meeting with top executives of ExxonMobil at its headquarters in Lagos o Wednesday.
Recall that the Federal Government had last year announced plans to formally exit the JV cash calls arrangements it has had with the IOCs operating in the country for more than four decades.
Kachikwu said the government was exiting the JV with an outstanding debt of $5.1 billion, which he had said would be paid over a period of five years through incremental oil production volumes.
The Minister stated that it would be expedient for the IOCs to reciprocate the Federal Government’s gesture and commitment by ensuring that they ramp up investments in the country’s oil and gas sector.
He also encouraged ExxonMobil to invest in more practical deliveries in the area of human capital development and investment in local growth of skill sets required in the oil and gas sector.
The Minister restated the efforts of the Federal Government aimed at reducing importation of petroleum products, adding that such efforts would be boosted if major IOC partners operating in Nigeria invest in building signature refineries to be run on joint venture basis with the Federal Government providing the necessary needed incentives.
On its part, ExxonMobil said it recognised the valued partnership with Nigeria and noble work of the Minister to ensure the development and growth of Nigeria’s oil and gas sector.
The American oil giant also reiterated its commitment to help deliver power to Nigeria and support the gas commercialisation programme of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources.
The meeting is part of the ongoing investment drives embarked on by the Minister of State for IOCs. The first of these was with Italian IOC giant, Eni, in January 2017 where the Italian company pledged to work with Nigeria to revamp the Port Harcourt Refinery.
Other IOCs scheduled to be visited included Shell, Chevron and Total.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s lower house of parliament has set up a committee to investigate the circumstances surrounding the award of Oil Prospecting Licence (OPL) 245, the committee chairman said on Wednesday.