Nigeria's aspiration of unlocking over 10billion barrels of deep water oil reserves was accentuated with the signing of the crucial Heads of Terms Agreement among the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and its production sharing contracting partners for the development of the Bonga Main and Bonga South West fields in OML 118.
A press statement in Abuja by the NNPC group general manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, said the HOT deal was executed after a successful settlement of a 10-year dispute among stakeholders based on a comprehensive rapprochement anchored by the NNPC.
Chief Operating Officer (COO), Upstream of the Corporation, Mallam Bello Rabiu, said the signing of the agreement on the project came as a major landmark in the quest to unlock the nation's vast deep water resources and grow the overall crude oil reserves base.
He said with the HOT agreement now safely in the kitty, stakeholders were now looking forward to speedy negotiation ahead of the execution of the Final Investment Decision (FID) under terms which would be mutually beneficial to all concerned.
Group General Manager, Corporate Planning and Strategy of the NNPC, Bala Wunti, who also doubled as head of the Bonga South West Project dispute resolution team, said the resolution of the legal dispute had paved the way for partners to cast their investment net into Nigeria's highly prolific deep waters with potential for maximum returns.
He said the initiative to exit the legal battle and embrace the commercial option proved a turning point in settling the dispute and turned the next page of the project which is key to the Federal Government's aspiration in terms of production increase and reserve growth.
Engr. Bayo Ojulari, Managing Director of Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCO), expressed delight at the execution of the HOT which would open up opportunities for the formal release of the Invitation to Tender (ITT) for the massive Bonga South West project.
The project has the capacity to shore up Nigeria's daily crude oil production by over 225, 000 barrels.
Paul McGrath, Managing Director of ExxonMobil Nigeria, commended NNPC for the successful arbitration of the dispute, even as he noted that the future of deep water production in Nigeria remains prolific and beneficial to stakeholders.
Similar sentiments were expressed by Nicholas Terraz, Managing Director of Total Exploration and Production Nigeria (TEPN) and Lorenzo Fiorillo, Managing Director Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC).
The Bonga South West Deep project is operated by SNEPCo with Esso Exploration & Production Nigeria (Deep-water) Limited, Total E&P Nigeria Limited, and Nigerian Agip Exploration Limited as co-ventures.