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China seeks to move Western oil majors from their Niger...

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China seeks to move Western oil majors from their Nigerian perches

Energy-hungry China says it’s ready to invest $50 billion to buy up 6 billion barrels of Nigerian oil reserves. That kind of money could help Nigeria, an OPEC member, fund joint ventures with other oil majors. But there’s a catch. Several of China’s state-run oil firms are in talks with Nigeria about searching for proven oil reserves, including in oil blocks held by western majors such as Royal Dutch Shell, ExxonMobil and Chevron. One Nigerian minister says China won’t be given all the oil reserves it wants. Rather the Nigerians might sell their minority stakes in joint ventures with existing oil partners if Beijing offers the right price. So there you have it, good old leverage, with one side playing off the other. Shell has vowed to fight any efforts by the Nigerian government to hand control of its majority-held fields to Chinese oil companies. Nigeria has a funding shortfall of about $6 billion in its joint ventures with Western oil majors, which were struck way back in the 1970s. Now it sees China’s insatiable appetite for oil as a way to pressure these firms for better terms. Oil’s a dirty business. Read more: Reuters, Vanguard, Reuters

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