Nigeria announces bid round for seven new oil blocks
The Nigerian government has announced a mini-bid round for seven oil blocks. This is coming six months after the government, through the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), awarded about 49 Petroleum Prospecting Licences (PPL) to over 100 indigenous companies, generating about N200 billion and $7 million.
The development is also happening at a time when the country’s production and reserves have stagnated or are retrogressing, as investors move away from fossil fuels amid challenging operating conditions.
Speaking at a briefing in Abuja, yesterday, NUPRC Chief Executive, Gbenga Komolafe, said the new licensing round is an opportunity to spur new exploration and drilling activities in the prospective deep waters offshore Nigeria.
According to him, the mini-bid round is the first in a series of bid rounds to be held in accordance with the Petroleum Industry Act 2021 (PIA), with enhanced legal and regulatory frameworks that seek to encourage new investors and investments into the next phase of exploration.
“In this year’s mini-bid round, seven offshore blocks covering an area of approximately 6,700 km2 in water depths of 1,150m to 3,100m are put on offer,” Komolafe said.
He said the National Data Repository (NDR) of NUPRC and the agency’s multi-client partners were delighted and ready to support the exercise underpinned by high-quality datasets.
Komolafe disclosed that the first blocks have extensive 2D and 3D seismic data coverage, including multi-beam and analog data, among others. Links to all data can be accessed via dedicated NUPRC portal.
Komolafe said the exercise is market-driven and would follow a transparent and competitive procurement process. It is also designed to attract, from across the world, competent third-party investors who have capability and proficiency in operating in deep-water environments.
Komolafe said the agency would ensure all stakeholders gain value from the country’s resources, while paying close attention to reduction in carbon emissions, as well as overall Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) considerations.
“A dedicated programme portal for the mini-bid round has been published by NUPRC, which provides details of the bid round process, including registration and prequalification requirements, and detailed guidelines for applicants.
“A pre-bid conference is scheduled for January 16, 2023, to provide potential applicants with opportunity to ask questions they may have concerning the mini-bid round process and requirements, after which interested companies will be invited to submit their pre-qualification applications by January 31, 2023.”