Cui Jianchun, Chinese ambassador to Nigeria, has assured the federal government that the recent revocation of Addax Petroleum’s licences will not affect the excellent relationship between both countries.
Jianchun said this on Thursday when paid a visit to Timipre Sylva, minister of state for petroleum resources, in Abuja.
On March 30, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) revoked oil mining licences (OMLs) 123, 124, 126 and 137 held by Addax Petroleum, a company owned by China’s Sinopec Group, over poor development of the assets.
Sarki Auwalu, DPR director, had said over 50 percent of the assets were underdeveloped, which he said caused revenue loss to the government.
In April, the DPR set up a committee to evaluate the four revoked oil blocks of Addax Petroleum in preparation for the formal hand over of the assets to new operators.
However, President Muhammadu Buhari restored ownership of the OMLs to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Addax Petroleum.
The petroleum corporation operates the licences with Addax Petroleum via a production sharing contract.
According to a statement by Garba Mohammad, special adviser to the minister, Sylva and Jianchun discussed avenues to maintain the alliance between Nigeria and China.
“The two top officials agreed on excellent relations that exist between their two countries and expressed the need to deepen partnership,” the statement read.
“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.”
Sylva noted that Nigeria has a commercial partnership with China, adding that “we will open up more frontiers for a beneficial Sino-Nigerian trade alliance.”