By Dipo Olowookere
Ambassador of France to Nigeria, Mr Denys Gauer, has expressed his government’s desire to invest about €1 billion in the country’s oil and gas sector.
Mr Gauer stated that the €1 billion was put down by the French Development Agency to encourage French investors to invest in the Nigerian oil and gas industry because of the confidence the French government has in the country’s economy.
Also, the envoy said the French government was also collaborating with the Nigerian government to tackle security problems in the country, especially Boko Haram insurgency.
Mr Gauer, while receiving a delegation led the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division (GPAD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr Ndu Ughamadu, to his office in Abuja on Tuesday, described Nigeria as France’s first economic trading partner in Africa.
The French Ambassador commended the Federal Government for stemming the Niger Delta insecurity situation noting that Total, a French multinational oil and gas firm, had significant investment equity in the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNG) and Egina project.
He however, expressed concern that some other French companies were having challenges with the unclear Nigeria’s fiscal policies in the oil and gas sector, revealing that some French investors were currently developing wind energy and solar energy in Katsina State.
Earlier, Mr Ughamadu said the NNPC under the current management led by the Group Managing Director, Dr Maikanti Baru, was well positioned and open to investment opportunities from the French Government and investors.
Mr Ughamadu noted that with the significant scale down in pipeline vandalism and insecurity which has boosted oil production, global investors such as the French Government can now invest in renewable energy, gas and power infrastructural development, pipeline construction, storage facility and the direct sales and direct purchase of Nigeria crude oil grades.
He said the NNPC as the state owned oil and gas agency had global operations and called for closer collaboration between the French Government and the corporation especially in the area of consular services in order to enable NNPC top executives and staff meet their global engagements.
Mr Ughamadu thanked the Ambassador for the warm reception accorded the NNPC delegation and assured him that with the leadership of the new NNPC management, the Corporation was determined to develop a robust business atmosphere for investors.
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