Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Malcolm Wicks visit to Nigeria

20 Aug 2008 17:22 Africa/Lagos


Malcolm Wicks visit to Nigeria

London, 20 August/GNN/ --

DEPARTMENT FOR BUSINESS, ENTERPRISE AND REGULATORY REFORM News Release
(2008/178) issued by The Government News Network on 20 August 2008
UK Energy Minister, Malcolm Wicks, has visited Nigeria this week following
HE President Yar'Adua's London meeting with the Prime Minister in June,
where energy was a key theme of their discussion.

Whilst there he met with Nigerian energy ministers and visited the Delta to
gain an understanding of the situation in Nigeria first hand.

Speaking in Nigeria, Wicks said:

"I came here to continue discussions with my Nigerian counterparts and to
understand more about the energy challenges in Nigeria. The UK is keen to see
whether our energy experience can help the Nigerian Government to implement
their far reaching energy sector reforms.

"We have discussed Nigeria's oil and gas production, including their
implementation of a recently launched Gas Master Plan and the prospects for
ending gas flaring, the reform and restructuring of the Nigerian National
Petroleum Corporation and the important work of the Nigerian Extractive
Industries Transparency Initiative.

"I support Nigeria's efforts to better use oil and gas revenues which,
together with fiscal discipline and transparency, can make a positive
difference to livelihoods of the Nigerian people.

"The UK and Nigeria have a close relationship on many issues; I hope that
this can be extended to the energy field and that this visit can help to
further strengthen our partnership."

During bilateral discussions, the prospects for increasing oil and gas
production in Nigeria and the need for a strong investment climate to ensure
this potential is realised were discussed.

Also discussed:

* Sustainable development, climate change, the implementation of the clean
development mechanism and carbon capture and storage technologies;
* Energy conservation and efficiency;
* Capacity building to help with implementation of the reforms; and
* Foreign direct investment

The Ministers also talked about UK's experience in working with
International Oil Companies (IOC) and the benefits doing so can provide to
a country. Recognising the need for the Government of Nigeria and the IOCs
to find a fair and equitable solution to funding issues, Wicks said the UK
Government stood ready to support both parties in achieving this.

Notes to editors

1. The UK supports Nigeria in gaining better use of its oil revenues, improving
transparency, and strengthening macro-economic management, including in the
Niger Delta States.

2. Volatility in the crude oil prices poses challenges for Nigeria and other
producing countries. The UK believes that open, transparent markets are the
best way to encourage investment and encourages Nigeria in its efforts to
increase transparency in the energy sector through initiatives such as the
Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.

3. Both the UK and Nigerian Governments are supportive of the producer/consumer
meeting held at Jeddah to discuss energy and its priorities to improve the
functioning of oil markets, investment in new oil production, management of
demand and sharing a vision of the future energy landscape. Only by working
together and sharing experience will we tackle challenges in an effective
and timely way.

4. The Nigerian Ministers that met with UK Energy Minister, Malcolm Wicks,
included the Minister of State for Petroleum, Odien Ajumogobia; the Minister
of State for Energy (Gas), Emmanuel O Odusina; and the Minister of State
for Energy (Power) Mrs Fatima Balaraba Ibrahim.

5. The UK recognises the ambitious programme of reform the Nigerian Government
is taking forward and modernising of the regulatory regime in the energy
sector. The UK has offered support in sharing experience and building capacity
in energy regulation. It is these regulatory frameworks that give the private
sector the confidence to deliver these ambitious plans. Areas for support
could include technical aspects around gas markets and tariffs where the
UK has significant experience. Also, part of a longer term plan to increase
supplies, both countries recognise the current global shortage in skills in
the oil and gas sector and will work together through the International Energy
Forum and OPEC to look at training and building skills across the sector.

6. Both countries will also explore opportunities to manage supply and demand
and conserve energy which contributes not only to increased energy security
but climate security. We will look at existing energy efficiency initiatives
and also at what new technologies might support these endeavours. An
excellent example of where increased energy security and climate change come
together is the new technology on carbon capture and storage and enhanced
oil recovery. Both countries will continue to work together on commercial
opportunities around implementing climate change measures. Key to this is
the clean development mechanism and the UK Government commits to continuing
to support the NNPC in its actions on the mechanism.

7. The Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform helps UK
business succeed in an increasingly competitive world. It promotes business
growth and a strong enterprise economy, leads the better regulation agenda
and champions free and fair markets. It is the shareholder in a number of
Government-owned assets and it works to secure, clean and competitively
priced energy supplies.

Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform
7th Floor, 1 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0ET

Press enquiries +44 (0)20 7215 5954
(Out of hours) +44 (0)20 7215 3234/3505
Public enquiries +44 (0)20 7215 5000
Textphone +44 (0)20 7215 6740 (for those with hearing impairment)
Press Office fax +44 (0)20 7222 4382
www.berr.gov.uk



Source: Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform


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