March 2, 2024

Nigeria to unlock $18 bn worth of FDI in upstream oil, gas project, if govt. operators embrace sustainability, international standards – Wunti, NNPCL, Chief UIO 

 

Oredola Adeola

In a bid to effectively capture the over $18 billion worth of investment in Ubetta and Prowei projects (Total Energies), FDI on Bonga-North (SNEPCO), Agbami Gas Project (Stardeep), and Owowo (Esso) and other Nigeria’s upcoming upstream projects, the Nigerian Government and oil and gas exploration and production companies in the country have been urged to adopt sustainable practices, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and implement international standards and best practices in the oil and gas industry.

 

Bala Wunti, Chief Upstream Investment Officer of NNPC Limited, made this remark during a panel discussion on the theme: “The Investor’s Perspective: Assessing the Attractiveness of Nigeria’s Energy Sector,” at the just concluded Nigeria Oil and Gas Energy Week in Abuja. 

Wunti while expressing optimism about the foreign direct investment (FDI) outlook for Nigeria’s energy sector, emphasised that it is crucial for the country to swiftly align with global discourses on hydrocarbon management and emissions reduction if the government and operators are committed to effectively capturing those upstream capital from foreign investors. 

 

EnergyDay’s check showed that Nigeria’s petroleum industry remains a lucrative and viable investment opportunity as more than over $50 billion worth of oil development projects are expected to be attracted through FDI and other funding sources under the present administration of President Bola Tinubu, if the country is committed to adopting measures to overcome economic downturn and exploring various alternative revenue sources, especially through natural gas commercialization and infrastructure development.

 

 

Several studies have highlighted the importance of sustainability in the oil and gas industry, including the need to combat gas flaring, adopt circular economy models, and improve corporate social responsibility practices.

 

 

The Nigerian government has already taken steps to reduce emissions from the oil and gas industry by finalizing its methane guidelines, which require companies to implement leak detection and repair measures, install flares with high destruction efficiency, and establish a system for reporting and verifying emissions.

 

 

Wunti however noted that capital has been very discriminatory against fossil fuel production, adding that no one is interested in investing in projects that are not sustainable and that can earn speedy dividends in compliance with the global energy transition perspective.

 

That is what the upstream investment needs as it requires that both government and private sector players to synergise to go to the fund market to fit into the narrative of decarbonizations.

 

He said, “Gas is our destination fuel, not a transition fuel. This will be relevant up to the end of the century and gas will be relevant up till the end of the century. We have This is what we are using to rebase our economic mantra. We are talking about associated gas; we are talking about dry gas.

 

Wunti also discussed the need to address ongoing issues in the Petroleum Industry Act, including the Host Community Fund, Flare Management, and Penalty, and the Decommissioning and Abandonment Framework.

 

He further mentioned the importance of cost optimization, advocating for the development of local contracting capacity through a balance of local and international contractors.

 

He also spoke about the need to move away from insular practices and to advocate for collective action in project execution, adding that a commitment to co-creation and collaboration is critical to developing clear, stable, secure, and competitive project prospects that will continue to attract robust investment into Nigeria’s oil and gas sector.