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By NBF News
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By Yemie Adeoye & Oscarline Onwuemenyi, in Houston, Texas

Managing Director of Seplat  Petroleum Development Company Limited, Mr Austin Avuru, has urged Nigerian indigenous exploration and production firms to be ready to take over the operation of the deep offshore and ultra deep oil business in Nigeria any time the multinational oil firms currently in the business divest their interest.

Avuru,  who  spoke at the Nigerian Petroleum  Technology  Association (PETAN ) session at the ongoing Offshore Technology  Conference 2012, in Houston, Texas, further urged the Federal Government to support local oil and gas producers in the development of the hydro-carbon resources of the country which is the mainstay of the Nigerian economy.

He further predicted that Nigerian oil producing firms might miss the ownership and the operation of oil in the next 10 years to foreign independent oil producers if they were not ready for the exercise.

His  prediction was based on the premise that it took the multinational oil firms about 40 years to reach peak operation and divest their equities in the onshore operation to local oil producers in Nigeria and other African nations.

He noted that the technological advancement would enable the multinationals and other international firms a period of eight to 10 years of hitting maximum production which would lead to the divestment of their equities in the deep offshore fields in the country.

According to him, 'the question is: how prepared are Nigerian  oil firms to manage oil operation in the deep offshore oil production when the multinational oil firms divest their interests in the oil sector, having peak in the recouping of their investment in the next 10 years?

'There is the possibility of the foreign independent companies coming to take over the ownership and the operation of these vital national assets if they are ready.'

Avuru, therefore, appealed to the Federal Government to take a cue from Norway, Brazil, China and India in supporting local oil and gas producers, adding that the development of the hydrocarbon  resources which is the mainstay of Nigerian economy  should not be developed without Nigerian participation.