Lagos prepares for entry into oil, gas exploration

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Lagos State is set to launch itself into the nation’s oil and gas sector, in what will see it invest in all downstream and upstream activities, such as exploration, drilling and the production of oil and gas.

To drive this through, the state is pushing for the establishment of what is to be known as the Lagos State Oil & Gas Corporation (LOGASC) which will be vested with the powers to optimise the benefits of the petroleum polices of the Federal Government and related infrastructure, as well as acquire gas volumes and supplies in Lagos.

A bill to give birth to the corporation is ready, and members of the State House of Assembly have invited Lagosians and other stakeholders to a public hearing on the bill today.

Lateef Raji, Special Adviser to Governor Babatunde Fashola on information and strategy, confirmed to BusinessDay at the weekend, that the corporation, upon its establishment would liaise with federal agencies and private companies to deliver petroleum products to Lagos, in the most efficient manner.

According to Raji, the move is also the way Lagos is seeking to position itself to play big in the nation’s oil and gas sector and tap from the benefits therein.  He said there were strong indications to confirm oil deposits within the territory of Lagos. “But even at that, as a state, we don’t need to have oil to play a critical role in the oil and gas sector. But I can confirm to you that oil has been discovered within this belt, yet to be exploited,” Raji said.

The corporation will also be saddled with the responsibility of investing and engaging in all midstream and downstream oil and gas activities, including all gas processing businesses, petroleum products retailing, gas retailing, gas pipelines deployment, and acquisition of petroleum products tank farms and other distribution facilities.

It will also be vested with the powers to purchase, or otherwise acquire or take over all, or any of the shares, assets, businesses, properties, privileges, contracts, rights , obligations and liabilities of any other company, firm or person, in furtherance of any business engaged in by the corporation.

Biodun Adesanya, Managing Director, Degencko Resources, also oil and gas consultants, speaking to BusinessDay, confirmed that Lagos has proven oil & gas fields in Aje and other blocks that are in exploration phase, and are operated by other companies such as Optimum.

Adesanya, an oil and gas expert, and a former manager with Elf Petroleum said, “I believe that what the LOGASC upon establishment will be looking at, is to possibly farm-in to assets both within and outside the state. I also want to believe the corporation will run as a Public/Private initiative.

“The corporation is likely to be listed on the floor of the Stock Exchange, and it would have the right to purchase assets from other companies that have oil blocks within and outside Nigeria”.

Analysts are of the view that the planned entry of Lagos into the sector, may trigger- off  healthy competition among the states of the federation, and perhaps ginger the Federal Government to consider a more efficient management of the sector, which accounts for over 80 percent of the nation’s earnings.

Meanwhile, the Lagos State House of Assembly is organising a public hearing on what will give interested members of the public the opportunity to make inputs into the law that will give birth to the proposed state Oil and Gas Corporation. A public notice in a national daily on Friday, quoted Lanre Ogunyemi, chairman of the House Committee on Energy, Mineral Resources and Waterfront Infrastructure Development, as saying that individuals, professional bodies and associations intending to make presentations to the committee, in respect of the proposed LOGASC, were free to attend the public hearing.

In : Lagos

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