By ERIC YEP OF DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
Mumbai---Essar Energy PLC is no longer in the race to acquire Royal Dutch Shell PLC's stake in oil and gas exploration blocks in Nigeria, a company spokesman said Thursday.
"Essar Energy can confirm that it had bid, as part of a consortium, for Shell's blocks in Nigeria. However, it is no longer in the race," the spokesman, who didn't wish to be named, told Dow Jones Newswires via e-mail.
The spokesman declined to comment on the specific blocks it had bid for, the size of the bids, or the reason for withdrawing from the bidding process.
Shell is selling four of its onshore oil blocks in Nigeria to oil producers eager to snap up Western oil majors' properties. The sales are part of Shell's plan to reduce its footprint in Nigeria's onshore assets, where output has been hit by militant attacks and oil theft since 2006.
"We have confirmed that the four blocks are up for sale, but we are not making any further comment on the issue," said Jonathan French, senior spokesman at Shell, via e-mail.