Posted by Agence France Presse on
Oil-rich Nigeria will this week put 78 oil blocs on offer to interested local and foreign investors, Oil Minister Edmund Daukoru said yesterday.
ABUJA, 24 August 2005 — Oil-rich Nigeria will this week put 78 oil blocs on offer to interested local and foreign investors, Oil Minister Edmund Daukoru said yesterday.
“It is expected that all the blocs on offer will be auctioned live on Aug. 26. However any blocs not sold on Aug. 26 shall be put forward for a second round of auction on Aug. 27,” the minister told reporters here.
He said 379 local and foreign firms have signified interests in the potentially-lucrative blocs which include 15 in deep water, six each in continental shelve and onshore, 16 in Chad Basin, nine in Anambra Basin, 12 in Benue Basin while 14 blocs have been reserved for strategic partners.
He said the reserved price for the blocs ranged between $500,000 and $50 million.
Daukoru said the bidding would be fair and transparent, adding that a team of auditors from Norway was due in the country yesterday to supervise the process.
Daukoru also said yesterday his country’s first deep water offshore oil field will begin production next month and by next year it will help to ease supply shortages that have pushed world prices to near record levels.
“Our own deep-water effort will start to bear fruit starting from September,” he told reporters, referring to the Bonga field, which has been developed by the Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell 150 kilometers (85 miles) off the coast of the Niger Delta.
“Bonga will come on stream with 50,000 barrels per day and will ramp up very quickly to between 200,000 and 250,000 barrels per day in six months’ time,” he predicted.
Nigeria is already Africa’s biggest oil producer, with exports of around 2.5 million barrels per day, and supplies more than ten percent of the United States’ crude imports.
Oil majors have made massive investments in deep offshore development and hope that within five years, when more new fields begin production, exports could pass four million barrels.
Daukoru said recent hikes in the world oil price were a result of restricted US refinery capacity and increasing demand from China and India, but promised Nigeria and its OPEC ally Saudi Arabia would boost production.
“Together with the efforts the Saudis are making and with our 250,000 barrels from Nigeria - and Angola too is making efforts - we’ll have to wait six months before we see any impact. There is hope that crude will be there when the refinery capacity is restored,” he said.
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