Monday, August 2, 2010

Shell offers to sell 5 Nigerian oil leases: paper

ABUJA (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell has offered to sell five oil leases in Nigeria's Niger Delta to domestic energy companies, according to a local newspaper.

Shell is in talks with several Nigerian oil companies, including Midwestern Oil & Gas, Niger Delta Petroleum Resources, and Setplat Petroleum, for the sale of oil leases 26, 30, 34, 40 and 42 in the Niger Delta, according to a report in ThisDay newspaper on Thursday, quoting unidentified sources.

The leases, some of which contain reserves of up to 2 billion barrels, are valued at between $150 million and $2 billion, according to ThisDay. A deal could be completed within weeks, the newspaper said.

A Shell spokesman in Nigeria declined to comment, saying the company does not respond to speculative reports.

Shell has said it is open to selling more of its assets in Nigeria's Niger Delta, where its oil and gas production has been hit by years of militant attacks.

Any sale would need to be approved by state oil firm NNPC, which is the majority shareholder of the oil blocks, however.

"It is premature for Shell to talk about any asset sales without consulting and getting approval from the Nigerian government and NNPC. Let the buyer beware," an NNPC spokesman said.

Nigeria has yet to approve a previous Shell sale of three Nigerian oil licenses to a consortium consisting of two local firms and France's Maurel & Prom.

Shell in January agreed to sell oil mining leases 4, 38 and 41 located in the northwestern part of the Niger Delta. The leases include 30 wells with a production capacity of around 50,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

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