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NIGERIA - Mobil - Paul Caldwell.

The CEO of Mobil Producing Nigeria (MPN) since May 1997, Caldwell is another prominent executive whose views carry a lot of weight. MPN operates many offshore oil and gas fields, including discoveries yet to be developed, in the Gulf of Guinea. Its production capacity now is 510,000 b/d, including 110,000 b/d of condensates from the Oso gas field, down from 530,000 b/d in 1997. This capacity is a JV in which NNPC holds 60% and MPN 40%. In Phase-II of the Oso field, producing 50,000 b/d NGLs since late 1998, Mobil holds the majority. MPN's oil and condensate production capacity is targeted to reach 1.05m b/d in the next decade. But Mobil has scaled down its operations considerably because of NNPC's payment problems (see Gas Market Trends No. 6).

Mobil has invested heavily on field development projects based on a programme launched after the 1991 MoU (of which NNPC is committed to cover 60% but has delayed and cut payments as in the case of the Shell-led JV and others).

Caldwell in May 1997 succeeded Jim Massey, who took over as head of Mobil's African and Middle East operations to replace Myles (Bill) Scoggins. Scoggins became in charge of a new global upstream business unit. Before becoming CEO of MPN, Caldwell was MPN general manager for exploration and production. In his current position, Caldwell is in charge of a wide range of operations in Nigeria, including Mobil's new downstream ventures worth over $2 bn proposed to include a 360 MW power plant on Bonny island to be supplied with gas from the Oso field and a complex to produce methanol/MTBE. These are to be JVs with NNPC and private Nigerian companies.

Massey's predecessor as CEO of MPN was John Owen-Smith, who in 1995 played a major role in securing funds for Mobil's development programme. Because NNPC could not fund its share and because of Washington's ban on aid to Nigeria, Owen-Smith got NNPC to reduce its holding in Phase-II to 49%. Thus Mobil has 51% in Phase-II. In return for control and further incentives, Mobil financed its share of Phase-II out of its means and helped NNPC to fund its 49% obligation. This help, worked out by Owen-Smith and Mobil's US bankers, came from oil and condensate liftings by the US major in addition to its equity share. In 1995, Owen-Smith also proposed that NNPC reduce its 60% stake in the main JV in favour of the US major, because of the state company's cash-flow problems. Although the government turned him down, Caldwell now is hoping that eventually NNPC would have either to accept that offer or let Mobil lift more crude oil and condensates in addition to its equity share - as in the case of the Phase-II venture.
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Comment:NIGERIA - Mobil - Paul Caldwell.
Publication:APS Review Gas Market Trends
Geographic Code:6NIGR
Date:Aug 23, 1999
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