Sao Tome Award Exploration Blocks in Late February

The joint development authority overseeing the tender of nine offshore oil blocks shared between Nigeria and Sao Tome and Principe will make a decision on awards after February 20, a JDA spokesman told Dow Jones Newswires Wednesday.

The awards will be made after ExxonMobil Corp. and Environmental Remediation Holding Corp. , which is 51% owned by Nigeria-based Chrome Energy, have exercised their pre-emptive rights to the joint development zone.

The notice to the companies to decide which blocks to take their options on took effect Jan. 20, although the JDA's first notification was Dec. 30.

The delay was to allow the companies more time to obtain additional information on the blocks, the spokesman said.