Nigeria has confirmed the first oil and natural gas discoveries of the new oil and oil and bitumen fields, the country’s prime minister said Sunday.
The announcement by Ali Lutfi comes as he and President Goodluck Jonathan are set to meet with the oil and mining company that is exploring the vast Niger Delta region for oil and other natural resources.
Lutfi said he and Jonathan were eager to discuss ways to protect the Niger Delta from an influx of foreign investment, particularly from foreign companies that have been looking for new ways to exploit natural resources in the country.
“We have a lot of opportunities to be very ambitious,” he told reporters in Abuja, the capital of the country where the fields are being drilled.
“We have the most important oil and the most valuable natural resources.”
Lutfis statement was met with immediate condemnation from the U.S. State Department and other Western countries.
It is not the first time Nigeria has said it plans to drill oil and energy exploration in the Niger delta.
In January, Lutfus administration announced a decision to drill a field in the Gulf of Guinea off the coast of Gabon.
Nigeria’s foreign minister, Ibrahim Buhari, said that while he was in Gabon, he met with the head of a multinational oil company and other companies to discuss the potential for the Niger Gulf region.