Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) has formally handed over its equity in OML 29 to an indigenous Oil and Gas firm in Nigeria, Aiteo.
In a statement, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr Joseph Dawha said it was a step forward in the quest of the government to develop the capacity of Nigerians and Nigerian companies to play leading roles in every sector of the oil and gas industry as encapsulated in the Nigerian Content Development Act.
Describing the OML 29 as one of the biggest onshore oil blocks that Shell has ever divested in the country, Okunbor explained that "One of the key reasons we are divesting some of our assets in the country is to grow indigenous participation in the industry. With the divestment of OML 29, one of our biggest blocks to Aiteo, the local content development in the country has received a major boost,"
Okunbor who put the value of the oil block at $2.56 billion also disclosed that it has an average production capacity of 43,000 barrels per day with a potential to grow beyond its current capacity in the nearest feature.
For his part, the Chairman of Aiteo Group, Mr Benedict Peters expressed optimism that the transfer of equity would help the company achieve its aspiration of participating in the entire value chain of the oil and gas industry.
"This event brings a capping to our aspirations, visions and our dreams. It has also brought tremendous value to our balance sheet. The reality of the asset is that it is the largest on-shore assets that Shell has ever divested," he stated.
"The Local Content Act made us who we are today, without it, companies like us will never have made it to this particular level". We thank the President and the Minister of Petroleum Resources who have driven the local content policy that has given birth to the Nigeria of our dream," Peters concluded .
NNPC is the senior partner in the OML 29 Joint Venture with Total and Agip as the remaining partners.