Nigeria Invites Bids on 45 Oil Blocks

ABUJA Apr 03, 2007 (Dow Jones Newswires)

Nigeria Tuesday offered international and deep-pocketed local investors the chance to bid on 45 oil blocks in coming weeks and dismissed suggestions the pace of the process, to be completed ahead of a new government, was politically driven.

Energy Minister Edmund Daukoru announced the offer, which features fewer-than-expected offshore and onshore blocks than previous estimates, and said blocks would be awarded before May 29, when a fresh government takes over after elections scheduled for April 14 and 21.

In order to filter out the serious bidders from those who wasted time in previous bid rounds over the last two years, Daukoru said winners would be required to make an immediate down payment of half "of all intended signature bonuses."

Tony Chukwueke said the winners would be announced May 3 and said the fewer number of blocks on offer was due to the limited amount of time officials have to process the bids.

Critics "should not make it look more political than it is," he added.

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

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