Egbogah unveils Nigeria round plan

NIGERIA IS WEIGHING up plans for a new licensing round, with a senior government official claiming that blocks holding an estimated 2bn barrels of reserves would be up for grabs.


"There will definitely be a bidding round this year with both onshore and offshore fields," according to Emmanuel Egbogah, special adviser to the president on energy. "It will be something not less than 2bn barrels."
The government has not yet finalised the number of leases that will be made available this year.
Nigeria's auction plans come as China seeks to buy significant amounts of the Opec member's natural resources.
In December, Egbogah said China was ready to invest US$50bn to acquire 6bn barrels of Nigerian oil.
China's Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi led a high level delegation to Nigeria last month to discuss upstream co-operation, but said at the time the two countries' oil relationship was in its early stages.
In September, China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) identified 23 licences in Nigeria in which it would like to buy stakes, including 16 operated by Shell, Chevron and ExxonMobil which expired last November and were up for renewal.
Egbogah said this year's bidding round would include oil licenses relinquished by Western players.
Shell has agreed to sell its stake in three onshore oil mining leases, which were not currently producing, to a consortium consisting of two local companies and France's Maurel & Prom.
The agreement, which includes 30 wells with a production capacity of 50,000 boepd, must be approved by the Nigerian government.

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