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19 Oil Blocks Bidding Not For Politicians, Says FG

This was due to awards not being based on technical and financial criteria.

By Nydra Ayibapreye

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, emphasized yesterday that the 19 oil blocks up for sale in the 2024 bidding round are intended for investors with both financial capacity and technical competence, not for politicians.

Senator Lokpobiri highlighted that historically, the allocation of oil blocks has led to the underdevelopment of over 90 percent of marginal fields, thereby depriving the federal government of the intended benefits.

This was due to awards not being based on technical and financial criteria. Speaking at the ongoing 2024 Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston, Texas, the Minister pointed out that more than 90 percent of marginal fields have been left undeveloped because their owners lack the capacity to develop them.

According to him, “We have noticed a lot of idle blocs and little or no investment done on them in the last three years of acquiring them. Currently, over 90 percent of owners of these oil blocks are seeking renewal without commencing or investing in them.

“In this regard, we are saying no more to that and hence those seeking blocs must be financially and technically capable of turning it around and not mere portfolio investors.

“These set of investors are those we consider as men and not boys in the industry. The Blocks are not for politicians. So, we are downplaying that kind of investor in this new bid round.

“However, we have taken away the 200 million signature bonus tied to block ownership. What we have tried to achieve is to tie such to operations and investment which will encourage investors and drive investment speedily on a field.

“I have worked closely with the NUPRC to ensure that we achieve a seamless transition and bid round sales this year.”

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