*Oil company allays fears of exit from Nigeria
Nigeria suffered a drop of $3.7 billion in taxes and royalties from Shell Companies in the country as the oil major paid just $900 million in 2020, down from $4.6 billion it paid in 2019.
Shell also allayed fear of its purported exit from Nigeria, pledging that it would remain in the country for the long haul.
It also revealed that it was considering strengthening its offshore operations in the country.
The taxes and royalties’ figures were contained in the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) transactions and operations published by the oil major in its 2021 Briefing Notes officially presented to journalists in Lagos.
Presenting the briefing notes, Country Head, Corporate Relations and Director, SPDC, Mr. Igo Weli, said the company experienced reduction in its taxes and royalty payment into the Nigerian government’s coffers due majorly to the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020.
“COVID-19 was responsible for the change you noticed in our reports. We all know how the pandemic affected the oil industry as it was noticed in the crash in demand for crude oil and how the price also fell to a level never seen in modern history.
“In 2019, our taxes and royalty stood at $4.6 billion but as you could, see this figure came down to $900 million in 2020. This has improved in the 2021 report and when the report is made available, you will be able to see this improvement,” Weli said.
Shell also disclosed that it spent $800 million on contracts to Nigerian companies in 2020, explaining that this was also a reduction from spending on the same variable in the previous year.
The company said it also paid $2.8 billion from 2000 to 2021, adding that another part of its socio-economic system was the over 2000 members of staff in its operations with majority of them as Nigerians.
The Shell’s spokesman, however stated that the oil major was in Nigeria for the long haul, adding that the company was instead looking at strengthening its offshore operations in the country, dispelling rumours about Shell’s planned exit from Nigeria.
“We’ve heard some people say we are going to leave Nigeria. No, that is not true. There is no way we are going to leave Nigeria. We are instead, looking at strenghtening our offshore operations,” Weli stated.