By John Ikani
TotalEnergies has announced plans to invest up to $6 billion in Nigeria, the largest oil producer in Africa.
The energy giant is set to focus on deep-water projects and gas production, aligning with the industry trend that sees international oil companies (IOCs) shifting from onshore to offshore operations in Nigeria.
During a meeting in Abuja with President Bola Tinubu, TotalEnergies CEO Patrick Pouyanne expressed support for the current administration’s policies and efforts to address insecurity issues within the industry.
Pouyanne emphasized the existing potential in both oil and gas sectors, noting the need for adjustments to unlock their full capabilities.
“Nigeria contributes 8 to 10 per cent of TotalEnergies’ global output and is home to more than 18 per cent of its overall investments,” stated Pouyanne.
However, retaining interest in offshore assets has been challenging for the oil major due to insecurity and vandalism issues plaguing these areas.
In November, Mele Kyari, the group managing director of NNPC Limited, highlighted the challenges, revealing that over 5000 kilometres of pipelines in the country are non-operational, with a pipeline from Warri to Benin inactive for the past 22 years.
TotalEnergies, which previously disclosed plans to divest its 10 per cent minority stake in a joint venture holding 20 onshore and shallow water permits in Nigeria, is making strategic decisions amid a broader trend.
Equinor, a Norwegian state-owned energy company, recently sold its interest in Nigeria’s Agbami field to local rival Chappal Energies, following the exit of IOCs like ExxonMobil and Shell.
To address industry challenges, TotalEnergies has partnered with NNPC to conduct methane detection and measurement campaigns, utilizing advanced drone-based AUSEA technology on oil and gas assets in the country.
President Tinubu expressed optimism about the collaboration, stating, “The good handshake that we have is for partnership and to accelerate and incentivize gas production in pursuit of the energy transition.”
As Nigeria aims to boost oil output, which hit a multi-decade low below 1 million barrels last year, the industry faces obstacles such as oil theft, vandalism, and inadequate infrastructure.
November’s output of 1.37 million barrels per day fell slightly from the previous month, and the NNPC has set an ambitious target of producing 2 million bpd by 2024.