Kenyan government wants Nigerian businessmen to come over to the country and help it to develop its oil and gas sector
| By Anayo Ezugwu | Sep. 23, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT
AS part of its efforts to attract foreign investors into the country’s oil and gas industry, Kenya has offered its 46 newly discovered oil blocks to interested Nigerians to invest in the development of the sector. Diezani Alison-Madueke, minister of petroleum resources, said that the offer of the oil wells was the outcome of the group dialogue preceding the Nigeria-Kenya Investment Forum held on September 6, in Nairobi, capital of Kenya.
Alison-Madueke was on the entourage of President Goodluck Jonathan, who concluded a three-day state visit to Kenya on Saturday, September 7, with host President, Uhuru Kenyatta, presiding over the forum. The forum, held at the Intercontinental Hotel, Nairobi, had in attendance more than 500 prominent investors from both countries. The minister said that beyond giving the opportunity to Nigerian investors to acquire the oil wells, Kenya also sought Nigeria’s assistance in the formulation of the right policies and frame-work to manage the sector.
“It is well known now that Kenya had recently discovered hydro-carbon reserves and they are very keen to move quite aggressively in terms of exploration activities. They seek various templates that we have formulated, including policies, processes and a sort of templates that form the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, among others. We also looked at areas surrounding Nigeria’s investment possibilities where we think that Nigerian business men and women could come into the oil and gas sector in Kenya. They are very keen that Nigerian operators in the upstream, midstream and downstream service sectors of the oil and gas industry look to Kenya as a burgeoning frontier for investments in the oil and gas sector. They are also very keen that we robustly support them in setting up the right frame-work, policies and processes and technology to help them drive the exploration activities,” she said.
The minister said that among the seven Memoranda of Understand, MoU, and bilateral agreements signed by both countries was that on oil and gas, which spelt out details of the co-operation. Also, Olusegun Aganga, minister of trade and investments, who was on the presidential entourage, said the maiden economic forum between Nigeria and Kenya had recorded a huge success in terms of trade and economic development between the two countries. He said the forum was a door opener to a new range of opportunities that would increase the volume of trade and value of investments between Nigeria and Kenya, which had, hitherto, been very low.
Edem Duke, minister of culture and tourism, said more than 70 percent of interest by the Kenyan businessmen at the forum was focused on tourism. He said the sector, which is a Greenfield and a new frontier, which has low entry barrier, aroused the interest of many Kenyan businessmen and women. According to him, the area of focus would be wild life development, horticulture, hospitality, training, leisure and entertainment facilities.
Aliko Dangote, chairman, Dangote group, who led the Nigerian delegation and chaired the dialogue group, said a number of Nigerian investors would be willing to invest in the oil sector in Kenya. Dangote, announced at the forum, the decision of his conglomerate to invest N64 billion in cement production in Kenya. Other influential Nigerian businessmen, who were on the entourage, were Femi Otedola, chief executive officer, Zenon Oil, Oba Otudeko, chairman, Honeywell Group, Jim Ovia and Tony Elumelu, prominent bankers.
Kenya recently announced that its oil resources met the threshold for commercial exploitation, raising the country’s hope of joining the league of oil producing nations. Specifically, Africa Oil, Canadian Oil and Gas Company, together with British explorer, Tullow Oil Plc, had put estimated Kenyan oil reserves at 368 million barrels, a level capable of commercial exploitation.