China’s ambassador to Nigeria Cui Jianchun has assured the federal government that the cancellation of Addax Petroleum’s licences will not mar the Asian nation’s relations with the West African country.
The Chinese ambassador gave the assurance when he visited Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Timipre Sylva in Abuja on Thursday.
“The two top officials agreed on excellent relations that exist between their two countries and expressed the need to deepen partnership,” read a statement from the special adviser to the minister, Garba Mohammad.
“Among other issues, they both agreed that the recent revocation of some OMLs held by Addax was purely a commercial decision and will not have any impact on the excellent relationship between the two countries.”
The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) had on March 30 revoked the oil mining licences (OMLs) 123, 124, 126 and 137 held by Addax Petroleum, a firm owned by China’s Sinopec Group.
DPR’s move was due to the below-par development of the assets. The agency said more than 50 percent of the assets were undeveloped, a situation it said had cost a revenue leakage to the government.
But Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, restored ownership of the OMLs to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Addax Petroleum.
The NNPC is operating the licences with the company through a production sharing contract.