Three Companies Win Nigeria/Sao Tome Block 1 Rights

ChevronTexaco, ExxonMobil, and Equity Energy Resources have been awarded Block 1 in the Nigeria/Sao Tome Joint Development Authority offering of deep offshore blocks, an authority spokesman told Dow Jones Newswires Saturday.

Results of eight other blocks will be announced later, after deliberations by the authority's management, spokesman Sam Dimka said by telephone from Abuja.

Dimka said ChevronTexaco will have 51% of the equity in Block 1, while ExxonMobil has 40% and Equity Energy Resources of Norway, 9%.

ChevronTexaco is also the operator of the block, Dimka said.

Dimka said the management of the authority will be meeting in Sao Tome in three weeks.

The announcement came after a meeting of the Council of Ministers of the two countries, which supervises the operations of the JDA. The meeting began Friday, but resumed Saturday after breaking off late Friday.

Dimka gave no reasons for the postponement of the awarding of the other blocks. The nine blocks are located in the joint maritime boundary between Nigeria and its island neighbor, Sao Tome and Principe, located in the Gulf of Guinea.

The Offering for the blocks opened last April and closed last October.

Tajudeen Umar, chairman of the JDA, said in Abuja earlier this week that the authority received 33 bids for the nine blocks, with about 30% of the bids going to the first block, thought to be the richest in terms of oil reserves.

Umar said the first oil production from the zone is expected in the fourth quarter of 2008.