LONDON (Dow Jones), Sept. 29, 2009
The Nigerian government is in advanced talks with China's CNOOC Ltd. (CEO) over signing deals on several onshore oil blocks as the state-run company looks to expand its position in the West African nation by securing drilling rights that are going unused by Western energy firms.
Companies such as Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSA) have long been at loggerheads with the Nigerian government over not fully utilizing some of their drilling licenses, often for not having secure enough operating conditions due to militant attacks.
"We are in talks with many companies at the moment and certainly CNOOC is one of those. They have been a good company for us and we will see what happens," Nigerian Oil Minister Rilwanu Lukman said by telephone.
An official with Nigeria's state oil company said the number of onshore blocks on offer was about 20 and that negotiations were at a late stage with some of those firms, including CNOOC.
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