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New Round Of Oil Blocs Bid For Investors Not Politicians —  Minister for Petroleum Says

New Round Of Oil Blocs Bid For Investors Not Politicians —  Minister for Petroleum Says

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, has said that the 17 oil blocs put forward for sale under the 2024 licensing bid round are not for politicians, but investors with financial capacity and technical competence.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Heineken Lokpobiri, revealed this during a conference organised by the Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN), at the ongoing 2024 Offshore Technology Conference (OTC), in Houston, Texas U.S.

According to him, the move forms part of the effort to drive investment and boost the nation’s economic fortunes.

With the theme “Sustainable Energy Solutions for Africa’s Future (Nigerian Perspective), the Minister explained that in the past, the award of oil blocs culminated in the non-development of over 90 per cent of marginal fields.

This, he said, denied the government of reaping the intended benefits because such awards were not based on technical and financial considerations.

“We have noticed a lot of idle blocs and little or no investment done on them in the last three years of acquiring them.

“I can tell you for a fact that over 90 per cent of owners of these oil blocs 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 blocs 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 blocs 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,” Lokpobiri said.

Similarly, the Commission Chief Executive, of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, (NUPRC), Mr Gbenga Komolafe, said the recent Presidential Executive Orders issued in March were aimed at improving the efficiency and attractiveness of Nigeria’s oil and gas sector.

Komolafe said that it would culminate in further increasing the nation’s oil and gas reserves, currently standing at 37.5 billion barrels of crude oil and condensate reserves and 209.26 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves.

“The exercise, which was initially announced on the 29th of April 2024, is a significant leap in our strategic hydrocarbons development initiative.

“This round introduces twelve meticulously selected blocs across diverse geological spectra — from the fertile onshore basins to the promising continental shelves and the untapped depths of our deep offshore territories.

“Each bloc has been chosen for its potential to bolster our national reserves and stimulate economic vitality.

“Our approach is underpinned by the robust legal framework of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021(PIA), which ensures compliance with best practices to boost investors’ confidence.

“In keeping with the provisions of the PIA and regulations made under the Act, the Commission has issued a licensing round guideline and published a licensing round plan for the blocs.

“Namely; PPL 300-CS; PPL 301-CS; PPL 3008; PPL 3009; PPL 2001; PPL 2002; PML 51; PPL 267; PPL 268; PPL 269; PPL 270; and PPL 271).

“In addition to these blocs, the seven deep offshore blocs from the 2022 Mini-Bid Round Exercise which cover an area of approximately 6,700 km2 in water depths of 1,150m to 3,100m shall also be concluded along with this Licensing round.

“To ensure the seamlessness of the licensing round exercise, the NUPRC, in collaboration with our national data repository and multi-client partners.

“Guarantees access to comprehensive and high-quality geological data, facilitating informed decision-making and strategic investments,” he said.

He said that the blocs on offer have extensive 2D and 3D seismic data coverage, including multi-beam and analogue data.

“Additionally, a 3D reprocessed Pre-stack Time Migration of remarkable quality is also available to prospective bidders.

“The availability of advanced seismic datasets and analytical tools via our dedicated portals exemplifies our commitment to excellence and technological advancement.

“Distinguished investors and industry captains and stakeholders, the licencing round is indeed expected to be a huge success for Nigeria and is a big step toward growing the nation’s oil and gas reserves through aggressive exploration and development efforts.

“Boosting production, expanding opportunities for gas utilisation and end-to-end development across the value chain, strengthening energy security and economy.

“Providing occasion to gainfully engage the pool of competent companies in the oil and gas sector with a multiplier effect in employment opportunities.

“Enabling transfer of technology, valorising petroleum assets in the Nigerian territory and attracting investments.

“In addition, the licencing round presents us with the opportunity to reinforce Nigeria’s commitment to openness and transparency in line with the principles of the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI).

“On the global scale, the licencing round will no doubt be beneficial to all stakeholders and will in the long run contribute to long-term global energy sufficiency.

“Interestingly, the licencing round process was formulated in cognisance of global energy sustainability goals,” he added.

NUPRC has begun a road walk in Houston for oil bidders, and will be in Miami Florida next week.

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