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NNPC turns to China for expertise in oilfield development

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has said it is considering going into a partnership with the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), to develop its expertise in oilfield services.

CNOOC, a global leader and China’s largest producer of offshore crude oil and natural gas, is the third-largest NOC in China, after the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation (SINOPEC).

It also stated that the partnership would boost its expertise in the field of oil and gas research and development, adding that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in that regards with the CNOOC in China.

A statement from the corporation’s Group General Manager Public Affairs, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, recently in Abuja, stated the MoU was signed by the NNPC on the sidelines of the just concluded Forum for China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Summit.

It quoted the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, to have said that the MoU marked a milestone in NNPC’s aspiration to transit from an integrated oil and gas company to an energy company.

Baru explained that under the agreement, the two corporations would collaborate to get technical expertise required to provide oilfield services, including operatorship of oilfield assets in Nigeria and beyond.

The collaboration, he added, would also reinforce NNPC’s desire to partner with strategic investors to develop strategies for continuous cooperation that will be economically profitable to both parties.

The NNPC, he noted would equally see a significant upgrade of its research and development division laboratories in Port Harcourt through the new agreement.

“Our aim is to complement the federal government’s determination to meet the growing energy demands and diversify the economy away from reliance on carbon-based fuels,” said Baru.

He explained the collaboration between the two parties would yield the desired outcomes and further cement the established relations between Nigeria and China.

Asides oilfield services and research and development, Baru, also noted that renewable energy and biofuels production were another focus area the NNPC was keen to collaborate with CNOOC.

He said: “I am looking forward to further collaborating with your organisation towards establishing biofuels refineries in Nigeria and power generation using renewable energy sources.”

According to him, the NNPC had identified CNOOC as one of the leading national oil companies making giant strides in the global oil and gas industry, especially in ultra-deep offshore oil exploration.

Similarly, CNOOC’s Executive Vice Chairman, who signed the MoU on behalf of his corporation, Mr. Fang Zhi, said in the statement, that the development was a milestone for both companies.

Zhi, explained: “With this new chapter opening in the history of CNOOC’s co-operation with the NNPC, we hope to witness many more future collaborations that will be beneficial to both parties.”

The statement also quoted the chairman of CNOOC, Mr. Yang Hua, to have said that the firm considered Nigeria as a very strong partner, adding that over $14 billion had been invested by it in Nigeria so far.

He noted this was the largest single investment in any country by the Chinese oil giant, and observed that with about 160 oil and gas fields being developed as well as over 200 offshore platforms globally, CNOOC could help Nigeria develop its abundant hydrocarbon resources.