Nigerian Co Replaces Eni Unit as Operator of Two Offshore Fields

LAGOS Feb. 23, 2007 (Dow Jones Newswires)

The Nigerian Petroleum Development Company has taken over as operator of two offshore oil fields previously operated by Agip Energy and Natural Resources, a subsidiary of Eni SpA, a government official has confirmed.

The fields are Okono and Okpoho, both located on Oil Mining License 119 offshore Nigeria, Levi Ajuonuma, spokesman for state-run Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. (E), told Dow Jones Newswires Friday.

NPDC is the exploration and production subsidiary of NNPC.

Both fields are producing about 66,000 barrels a day of crude oil, but Ajuonuma said production is expected to "pick up very fast."

Until the change in the operator of the field, Agip had served as the operator, under a service contract, which provided for a possible takeover by the Nigerian company.

"The two fields in question were discovered by NNPC Exploration and Exploitation division, the forerunner of NPDC, during the aggressive exploration campaign between 1978 and 1983," Ajuonuma said in a statement.

Agip won the contract to develop the fields in 2000 and commenced drilling in April, 2001, with the first oil being produced in December of the same year from Okono. Production from Okpoho commenced in 2004.

He said the takeover by NPDC as the operator of the fields was made possible by the company's acquisition of the technical ability to do so.

Copyright (c) 2007 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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