By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Federal Government and the management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) have been commended for the improved security situation in the Niger Delta which has rubbed off positively on the operations of international oil companies.
This commendation was given by the Chief Operating Officer, Upstream, Eni, Mr Antonio Vella, when he led the management team of the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) on a courtesy visit to the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mr Maikanti Baru, in Abuja yesterday.
Mr Vella said the prevailing peace and security in the region had increased investors’ confidence in Nigeria’s petroleum industry, adding that his company was considering doubling its investment in the country.
“The steps the GMD has taken have greatly improved security in our area of operations, that is very important to us as it has given us confidence to come back strongly and raise oil and gas production.
“And that is what we are doing, we are increasing our budget in Nigeria because we have confidence in Dr. Baru and the entire system”, he said.
Mr Vella disclosed that NAOC was redoubling efforts on the ongoing expansion of the Okpai Independent Power Project and the Zabazaba Project to achieve early completion as a result of the improved operating environment.
According to him, the Okpai IPP expansion would be completed by the second quarter of next year and would raise the power generating capacity of the plant by over fifty percent.
On his part, Mr Baru, said his management was focused on making the operating environment safe and conducive for more investors to come in.
He Baru expressed optimism that the increase in production achieved by Agip would boost the nation’s chances of meeting production and reserve targets.
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