TotalEnergies to exit Nigeria’s onshore oilfields

The logo of French oil and gas company TotalEnergies is pictured at an electric car charging station and petrol station at the financial and business district of La Defense in Courbevoie near Paris, France, June 22, 2021. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

TotalEnergies has announced plans to sell its minority stake in a Nigerian oil joint venture, joining other top firms divesting from onshore oilfields in the country.

According to Bloomberg, Patrick Pouyanne, chief executive, TotalEnergies, said this in a conference call on Thursday.

Pouyanne said the company was planning to offload its 10 per cent interest in a firm that holds 20 onshore and shallow water permits in Nigeria.

Shell, the operator of the licences, is already considering bids from four local firms for its 30 per cent shareholding in the company.

In May 2021, Shell said it has started discussions with the federal government to sell its onshore oil assets in Nigeria.

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Pouyanne said “disruptions of local communities are sources of great concerns” in the country.

The company would join the league of foreign oil companies exiting the Nigerian oil market after operating in the market for over 60 years.

International oil companies (IOCs) intend to focus on deep-water fields due to the operational difficulties — including sabotage — experienced on onshore fields.

In February, Seplat Energy Plc entered into an agreement to acquire the entire share capital of Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited (MPNU) from ExxonMobil for $1.3 billion.

In March, the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) said the country lost about $3.27 billion worth of crude oil to theft between January 2021 and February 2022.

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Meanwhile, the federal government said it had collaborated with security agencies, operators, and relevant stakeholders, to clamp down on the activities of oil thieves.

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