From Uche Usim, Abuja

From the French government comes cheery news of a planned one billion euros investment programme in the nation’s oil and gas industry.

The investment, according to the French Ambassador to Nigeria, Denys Gauer, was in recognition of the country as its first economic trading partner in Africa.

Speaking while receiving a delegation of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) led by the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division (GPAD), Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, in Abuja recently, Gauer said the money, packaged by the French Development Agency (FDA), would encourage French companies to invest in the Nigerian oil and gas sector.

He added that the French government was also cooperating with the Federal Government in the fight against Boko Haram insurgency to ensure the country remained peaceful and conducive for business.

The ambassador commended the Federal Government for stemming the Niger Delta insecurity situation, pointing out that Total, a French multinational oil and gas company, had significant investment equity in the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNG) and Egina project.

He expressed concerns that some other French companies were having challenges with the unclear Nigeria’s fiscal policies in the oil and gas sector, even as he revealed that some investors were currently developing wind energy and solar energy in Katsina State.

Ughamadu said the NNPC was open to investment opportunities from the French government and other investors.

He noted that with the significant reduction in pipeline vandalism and insecurity, which boosted oil production, global investors could now invest in renewable energy, gas and power infrastructure development, pipeline construction, storage facility and the direct sales and direct purchase of Nigeria crude oil grades.

He said the NNPC had global operations and called for closer collaboration between the French government and the corporation especially in the area of consular services to enable NNPC top executives and staff to meet their global engagements.

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