Over 300 companies have applied to be prequalified for the Nigerian Marginal Field Bid Round, with many others unable to gain access to the portal, in the three weeks since the round was launched.
The Department of Petroleum Resources, the industry regulator, meanwhile, postponed the terminal date of registration of Bids to June 21.
Nigerian Ministry of Petroleum sources say it is likely that over 500 companies would have applied by that date.
The ongoing exercise is the first government supervised oil and gas asset sale since the acreage bid round in 2007.
Marginal fields are undeveloped discoveries that have lain fallow in acreages operated by International Oil Companies for at least 10 years.
It would take around $150,000 for a qualified application to get all the way to signature bonus and a number of Nigerian businessmen. “Once you get to the point of being qualified and all you have to pay is the signature bonus, you’re there”, says a retired reservoir engineer who spent over 25 years with a super major in Nigeria. “There is the impression that a marginal field licence has conferred on you some entitlement”.
The entire exercise, up to the submission of technical/commercial bid, ends on August 16, 2020. In between, from June 21 to August 16, the following will happen: (1) Evaluation of submission and preparation of report, June 22 to July 5; (2) Announcement of Pre-Qualified Applicants and Issuance of Field Teasers, July 5; (3) Data Prying, Leasing, Purchase of Reports, July 6 to August 16; (4) Payment of Application and Bid Processing Fee and Submission of Technical and Commercial Bid; July 6 to August 16. The schedule means that the heavy lifting will happen between July 6 and August 16.