French oil group, Total, said it will approve plans to proceed with the Ikike project in Nigeria in the coming months. The firm also plans to expand its liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in the country, CEO Patrick Pouyanne said yesterday.
Total is one of the strongest players in the African oil sector, holding more proven reserves on the continent than any of the other top global oil companies.
The 60,000 barrels-per-day (bpd) Ikike project is one of several projects the group has earmarked in Nigeria for a final investment decision (FID), including the 70,000 bpd deepwater Preowei project, which would help Total increase its oil production.
“There is a huge potential in Nigeria; it is probably the most prolific country in West Africa in terms of oil and gas, and it is time to launch new projects and we are working on many of them,” Pouyanne told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting of Nigerian and French businesses in Paris.
This month, Total started production at the Egina oil field off the coast of Nigeria.
“On the same area as Egina, we have Preowei, which could be connected to Egina, We are working on that,” he said.
Total also planning to expand its Nigerian LNG project this year, he said.
“The market is very good today to do that; it is a very interesting project and the partners are in line to develop it… 2019 should be the year of expanding Nigeria LNG,” he added.
Pouyanne called on Nigeria to issue new exploration licences, saying the country’s oil and gas sector had been dormant in recent years in terms of exploration and new projects due to uncertainties and the ongoing discussions over Nigeria’s oil industry regulation.
The last round of exploration licenses tenders was in 2011. “I hope the new government that will come after the election will launch new tenders for awarding new exploration licenses,” he said.
Total is also developing Uganda’s first oilfield with China’s CNOOC and Pouyanne said the company would make a final investment decision this year on whether to start production. Uganda has said it expects to start producing oil in 2021.