The race is hot for Total’s multi-billion dollar downstream assets as it contemplates total exit from Nigeria’s petroleum downstream sub-sector.

French oil multinational, Total, the only remaining foreign firm in Nigeria’s downstream. It was gathered that it decided to sell off its product imports, storage and retails assets due to the shrinking profit margins. About 12 foreign and indigenous firms are said to be in contention for the assets.

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Total declined to comment on the deal because of its confidential nature, but a source at the company confirmed the move yesterday.

“The divestment of Total’s downstream assets too is on-going. It is a confidential deal, which meetings have been held outside the shores of Nigeria several times with contenders mostly indigenous firms.”

“There is an on-going negotiation with companies for divestment of our downstream assets, about a dozen of them have submitted proposal and we are making progress on the deal”

“The downstream sector is bearish, with profit margin shrinking everyday. The consumption of petroleum product by Nigerians has dipped drastically while the issue of foreign exchange scarcity made the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to be major player as we speak in terms of importation.”

“To make the matter worse, the removal of subsidy announced in May was a major turning point in the annals of oil majors participation in the downstream.”

Another multinational oil firm, ExxonMobil had completed the sale of its assets to an indigenous firm, NIPCO Plc., last Wednesday.