Nigeria to Include 8 Revoked Oil Blocks in New Auction

LAGOS Sep 26, 2006 (Dow Jones Newswires)

The Nigerian government will include eight oil blocks to be recovered from oil majors due to inactivity in a licensing round of 50 blocks slated for October, a person at the Department of Petroleum Resources said Tuesday.

The eight blocks have been left dormant for up to 10 years.

Of the 50 blocks on offer, 30 are in the Niger Delta and the deepwater region, while 20 will be from the inland basin, the person said.

"The government is expected to earn about $1 billion from the exercise," the person said.

He said the DPR recently completed a review of the 2006 operations in the oil industry, and is currently discussing the results with the operators.

The person didn't name the companies from which the eight blocks will be recovered.

"Those days are gone when oil companies would take acreages from the government but not work on them for several years," the person said.

An official of DPR told Dow Jones Newswires Friday that will revoke the oil license held in Ogoniland by Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria, a unit of Royal Dutch Shell (RDSB.LN). Shell stopped operating in Ogoniland in 1993 after the company was hit by a storm of protests by locals over its operations in the area, in the Western Niger Delta. Most of Nigeria's oil is produced in the delta.

In 2005, Nigeria offered 78 oil blocks for sale, but the DPR later said some of the bids weren't honored by the bidders.

In May, Nigeria offered 16 blocks in a mini-bid round, which was designed to attract investors into the country's power and refining sectors. The government gave preference to investors that planned to invest a minimum of $2 billion in these sectors.

Copyright (c) 2006 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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