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Frustrating delays in regulatory approvals killing petroleum industry—Lekoil boss

The Chief Executive Officer of Lekoil Group, an AIM-listed oil and gas exploration and production company with interests in Nigeria and Namibia, Mr. Lekan Akniyanmi, has raised an issue of urgent industry importance over official bureaucracies in getting critical approvals for production purposes.

In an interview, he decried that “Getting regulatory approvals has been the single biggest challenge that I faced since I returned to Nigeria to start Lekoil.”

“The single biggest challenge we have faced as a company has not been technical, it has not been money, it has been regulatory approvals.

“We have the consent for one of our interests in OPL 310 which has been pending for three years and this is an asset we have spent over $100 million of our money and the other entity we bought has spent $100 million so between us, there is over $200 million spent but still there is no regulatory approvals so we can’t move forward.

According to him, “We need to have a system that allows these things to move quickly because to the extent we do that then you can bring more money into the system into the country and then everybody benefits.

Akinyanmi revealed that “Right now, we have a very central system, I talk to the guys in government and you will find out that many of them are sometimes overwhelmed. Everybody all over the country comes to that central system and the people there are dealing with so many things.”

”If you go the NNPC GMD’s office, the number of people waiting to see him on a whole variety of issues is huge. We need to decentralise the system.  Why can’t we have folks that will give approvals in Bayelsa state have an office there or in Rivers or Edo and break it down in such a way that you have more input in the system,” Lekoil boss averred.