May 20, 2024

FG committed to deepening ties, investment opportunities with UAE

FG committed to deepening ties, investment opportunities with UAE

Minister for State Petroleum Resources (Oil), Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri said the Federal Government is committed to deepening bilateral ties and investment opportunities with the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Lokpobiri said this on Monday when he received Mr Salem Al Shamsi, the UAE Ambassador to Nigeria, and his delegation in his office.

The minister said the visit and was expected to further strengthen the ties between Nigeria and the UAE, fostering greater cooperation and mutual benefits in the energy sector.

He described the visit as a demonstration of the enduring diplomatic relationship between Nigeria and the UAE, adding that he has been interfacing with his counterpart in the UAE to boost the relationship.

He commended the recent bilateral agreement to restore visa issuance for Nigerians, which had been on hold.

He attributed this achievement to the dedication of President Bola Tinubu, whose efforts were pivotal in reinstating this important service.

He acknowledged that the restoration of visa services was significant given the high volume of travel between Nigeria and the UAE.

He emphasised Nigeria’s commitment to increasing oil production, stating that while Nigeria was not in a rush to transition from oil, the country was actively seeking to enhance its production capabilities.

“We are focused on ramping up our oil production; at the same time, we are inviting UAE investors to look at Nigeria as a prime destination. Our business environment is friendly, and our crude deposits are vast.

“We need to create more opportunities for investments to come in so that we can create the requisite funding for us to be able to finance our transition,” he said.

The Minister highlighted the benefits of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), which provides a robust legal framework that guarantees returns on investments and has significantly reshaped the oil and gas sector.

Lokpobiri said the PIA ensured a secure and profitable investment climate, making Nigeria an attractive location for investors.

“Nigeria has enormous investment opportunities. Our pipelines need renewal. The pipelines have been there for over 50 years. Nigeria found oil in commercial quantity in 1956/58.

“From then till now, it’s almost 70 years and most of those pipelines were built around that time, so they have already outlived their lifespan.

“Even if you have the capacity to produce, you need to evacuate to the terminals where you could do export.

“So, it’s an opportunity we are actually looking up to for potential investors from the UAE to come and invest and recover their money through those investments,” he said.

He said Nigeria should be doing more 37 billion barrel of crude, stating that the current administration had emphasised the need to resume drilling campaigns to ensure more discoveries.

Responding, Al Shamsi said he could see great potential in Nigeria’s energy sector and appreciated the steps being taken to create a conducive investment environment.

He said the technical teams from the Ministry and the UAE Embassy would need to interface and explore areas of collaboration and partnership between the two countries.

“Our countries have much to gain from continued collaboration,” he said.