NIGERIA – French energy giant TotalEnergies, has announced plans to sell its minority stake in a major Nigerian oil joint venture.

The firm said it wants to divest its share of Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) and is looking to reshape its portfolio since producing oil in the Niger Delta is not in line with its health, security and environmental policies.

The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC), in which TotalEnergies holds a 10% stake, has struggled with hundreds of onshore oil spills as a result of theft, sabotage and operational issues that led to costly repairs and high-profile lawsuits over the years.

“We want to divest our share of SPDC, and we are looking to reshape the portfolio,” Pouyanne said at TotalEnergies’ annual results presentation.

“Fundamentally it’s because producing this oil in the Niger delta is not in line with our [Health, Security and Environmental] policies, it’s a real difficulty.”

SPDC operates a network of pipelines, 263 oil wells, 56 gas wells, six gas plants, two oil export terminals and a power plant, according to its website.

TotalEnergies is the latest international oil company seeking to withdraw from Nigeria’s onshore sector after decades of operations. But the French group, which produced a total of 219,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2023 in Nigeria, remains a major operator of offshore fields in the West African country. Earlier this week it announced, opens new tab the start-up of the Akpo West oilfield located 135 kilometres off the coast.

Shell last month announced it had agreed to sell its 30% stake in SPDC to a consortium of five mostly local companies for up to US$2.4 billion.

Other partners in the joint venture are the state’s Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), which holds 55% and Italy’s Eni with 5%.

Exxon Mobil, opens new tab, Eni, opens new tab and Norway’s Equinor, opens new tab have all sold assets in Nigeria in recent years to focus on newer, more profitable operations elsewhere.

Pouyanne said TotalEnergies would keep its Nigerian gas resources, which he described as crucial for the company’s planned expansion of liquefied natural gas development in coming years.

Any sale would require Nigerian government approval.

The company had in December 2023 said it would invest as much as US$6 billion in Nigeria in coming years, particularly in gas production, as it plans to cut down investment in hydrocarbons and transition into cleaner energy.

TotalEnergies is a multinational energy company operating in more than 130 countries. For over 50 years, the company has remained a leader in the downstream sector of the Nigerian oil and gas industry.

In May 2022, the company launched a sale of its minority stake in a Nigerian oil joint venture.

The company said it was selling its interest in 13 onshore fields and 3 in shallow water, producing over 20,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

The sale includes infrastructure such as 3,500 km of pipelines connecting to two key crude export terminals, Bonny and Forcados.

TotalEnergies is the latest multinational to give up its onshore assets for deep-water fields.


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