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Exxon: Nigeria not living up to oil potential

Nov. 14, 2013 at 8:08 AM

LAGOS, Nigeria, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- Elijah White, a vice president of Exxon Mobil Production Co., said Nigeria needs to create a "stable and attractive" climate for energy investors.

"Nigeria needs to create a stable and attractive investment climate, competitive fiscal terms to attract capital and develop clear regulatory and competitive policies that would enable her to realize the full potential of the industry," he was quoted as saying Wednesday from Lagos by the Platts energy news service.

Nigeria aims to increase its proven crude oil reserves from 35 billion barrels currently to 40 billion barrels by 2020. Companies like Exxon said that's unlikely, though the Nigerian government said it's on pace to meet its goals despite a fragile national security situation and declining international investments.

Royal Dutch Shell has repeatedly said it was unable to fulfill its contractual obligations in Nigeria because of issues involving militants who, in some cases, drill holes into pipelines, causing environmental damage.

Amnesty International published a report last week questioning the narrative offered by oil companies working in Nigeria.

Amnesty said even though Shell says sabotage and theft are to blame for pollution, it hasn't taken any effective steps to protect its oil infrastructure from tampering. Shell's own contractors may be part of the theft problem, the report said.

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