ExxonMobil Breaks Silence on Alleged Plan to Leave Nigerian After Selling Assets to Seplat

ExxonMobil Breaks Silence on Alleged Plan to Leave Nigerian After Selling Assets to Seplat

  • International oil company ExxonMobil has addressed reports that it is planning to leave Nigeria after 69 years of operation in the country
  • The rumours were triggered following NNPC's approval of the sale of some of ExxonMobil's assets to Seplat Energy Plc for $1.3 billion
  • The oil company emphasized its continued partnership with Nigeria and hinted at significant new investments it is injecting into the energy sector

Legit.ng journalist Victor Enengedi has over a decade's experience covering Energy, MSMEs, Technology and the stock market.

Shane Harris, the managing director of ExxonMobil Nigeria, has clarified that the company is not exiting Nigeria, contrary to some reports.

Harris reportedly made this statement during a meeting with Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, the minister of state for petroleum resources (Oil), in Abuja.

ExxonMobil denies rumoured exit from Nigeria
ExxonMobil announces new investments in Nigeria's oil and gas sector. Photo credit - ExxonMobil
Source: UGC

The company's response followed reactions trailing its planned divestment of its entire stake in Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited to Seplat Energy Offshore Limited.

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ExxonMobil not leaving Nigeria

Nneamaka Okafor, the petroleum minister's special assistant on media and communications, spoke via a statement released in Abuja on Monday.

According to Punch, Harris reportedly stated that ExxonMobil, which began operations in Nigeria in 1955, is currently making new investments in the country's oil and gas sector.

The statement partly read:

“During the meeting, Mr Harris hinted at significant new investments that ExxonMobil is injecting into Nigeria’s energy sector.
“He expressed confidence in the renewed relationship between ExxonMobil and the Nigerian government, assuring the government that the oil giant is not planning to leave Nigeria.”

The statement also quoted the ExxonMobil executive expressing enthusiasm about the potential of these new investments.

It emphasised that partnership with the Nigerian government is essential for sustainable growth and highlighted that ExxonMobil looks forward to continuing this collaboration and has no intention of leaving the country.

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Senator Lokpobiri praised the ExxonMobil team for their dedication to the Nigerian oil and gas sector, noting that it aligns well with the country's goals.

The statement further mentioned that their discussions included the ministry's support for both international and independent oil operators.

Lokpobiri reassured Harris of the government's backing, stressing the importance of fostering a thriving environment for all stakeholders.

Lokpobiri said:

“We fully support ExxonMobil and other lOCs, just as we do with independent operators. Our collaborative efforts are key to the sustainable growth of our energy sector.”

Recall that Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria also earlier refuted rumours of its intention to exit Nigeria following the sale of its onshore business.

Reacting to the development, Wale Ogundeji, an energy analyst, told Legit.ng that the exit of foreign oil companies will adversely affect Nigeria's economy.

He said:

"The departure of international oil companies from Nigeria could significantly impact the nation's economy, which heavily relies on oil revenue.

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"It may lead to job losses, reduced foreign investment, and decreased government revenue, affecting public services and infrastructure development.
"Additionally, Nigeria might face challenges in managing and sustaining its oil industry without the expertise and technology provided by these companies."

He added that it could also encourage the growth of local industries and push for diversification of the economy.

Investments, jobs lost to foreign companies' exit

Meanwhile, Legit.ng earlier reported that economic analysts express concerns that Nigeria might face a severe economic crisis with the departure of certain multinational companies

They argue that the exit of these companies would cost Nigeria investments valued at over N500 trillion, leading to the loss of approximately 20,000 direct jobs and over 100,000 indirect jobs.

They also insist that the challenges persist because the operating environment in the country remains unfavourable.

Proofreading by James Ojo Adakole, journalist and copy editor at Legit.ng.

Source: Legit.ng

Victor Enengedi avatar

Victor Enengedi (Business HOD) Victor Enengedi is a trained journalist with over a decade of experience in both print and online media platforms. He holds a degree in History and Diplomatic Studies from Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ogun State. An AFP-certified journalist, he functions as the Head of the Business Desk at Legit. He has also worked as Head of Editorial Operations at Nairametrics. He can be reached via victor.enengedi@corp.legit.ng and +2348063274521.