Sunday, January 9, 2011

Bidders flock to Shell's Nigeria sale: paper

LONDON (Reuters) - At least 18 consortia are working on bids for Nigerian oil rights being sold by Royal Dutch Shell and partners, the Sunday Times newspaper said, citing unidentified sources close to the process.

The newspaper said Nat Rothschild, scion of the banking dynasty, was backing one group of bidders, while Russian gas group Gazprom was leading a bid with Nigerian resources firm Equinox Group.

London-listed oil industry services group Petrofac has joined forces with Nigerian gas firm Seven Energy to bid for one of the blocks being sold, while London-listed oil group Afren also plans to make an offer, it added.

Another bidding group includes London-based oil firm Perenco, Nigeria's Oando and Addax & Oryx, which is controlled by billionaire Jean Claude Gandur, the paper said.

Sweden's Lundin family is also interested, and working with logistics firm Intels Nigeria, it said.

Shell, which is selling four onshore fields along with partners Total and Eni, declined to comment.

Shell has said it hopes local companies would bid and analysts think there could be a preference for local players.

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