By McJohn Opotobo, in Warri
The much anticipated 2nd licencing round for oil fields deemed marginal in Nigeria is unlikely to be inaugurated until 1st Quarter 2018.
There is a heightened sense of anxiety for the round, the first in 10 years, and dozens of companies are waiting for the announcement, but impeccable sources at the Ministry of Petroleum in the country’s capital Abuja dismiss the possibility of the anticipated inaugural statement being made any time in the next three months.
The Department of Petroleum Resources, the country’s regulatory agency, responded angrily to a newspaper report which cited some guidelines to the round last week including allusions that the authorities plan to set aside some of the oil acreages for discretionary awards to “individuals from the Niger Delta region”. The report, published Monday September 18, had indicated that such discretionary awards are “to ensure that people from the region own the oil assets, even if it means holding a separate bid round for Niger Delta-owned companies”.
Petroleum ministry sources who spoke with Africa Oil+Gas Report were not discomfited by the parts of the said newspaper report which indicated that interested investors will be required to pay $50,000 each for a Competent Persons Report (CPR), which, the newspaper wrote “will require bidders to provide details of their shareholding structure, names of their directors, track record in the oil and gas sector, audited financial statements, partnership and/or collaboration with indigenous firms, and financial resources to bid and pay for the oil acreages”. The ministry sources also did not contest the part that said that “after the CPR stage, investors will also pay $15,000 each as data mining fees to enable them gain access to the relevant data on the acreages that will be placed on offer”. They are, however vigorously upset about the claims that the guidelines include a plan to set aside some of the oil acreages for discretionary awards to “individuals from the Niger Delta region.” Fuller story here