Lagos based, Japaul Oil & Maritime Services Plc, a Nigerian petroleum-services company, is shopping for N27 billion ($70 million) in a share offer in November to fund its switch to mining, as crude exploration and production activities wane.

Bloomberg said in a report yesterday that outside the funding challenge, Japaul also has plans to acquire smaller companies that already have licenses for those minerals to boost its production.

Traditionally, the company provides offshore construction, equipment leasing and oilfield-support services, but report say the company’s fortunes experienced a decline as oil prices fell in recent years. Chairman of the company, Jegede Paul, said in Lagos that the situation has forced energy companies to cut back on investments.

“The oil companies that we are serving have little jobs to do and the little jobs that are there, we are all battling to do at prices that are below our costs. By the next two years, we will completely be a mineral company,” Bloomberg reported Paul.

The chairman disclosed that Japaul is working with Toronto-based Matrix Geotechnologies Ltd as the consultant for its operations and has obtained licenses to mine gold, lead, nickel and copper it identified in commercial quantities in different parts of Nigeria.

Its shift to other minerals comes at a time the Nigeria is seeking to diversify the economy away from dependence on oil, the source of more than 90% of foreign-exchange earnings, the news agency noted. Nigeria started gold refining in June as part of moves to boost its bullion reserves with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

By Chibisi Ohakah, Abuja

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