Nigeria Reviewing Oil Acreage Award Processes - Oil Minister

ABUJA Feb. 6 2007 (Dow Jones Newswires)

Nigeria is "reviewing the modalities" for its oil acreage award process in preparation for the country's next oil bidding round, Nigerian Oil Minister Edmund Daukoru said Tuesday.

Daukoru said the bidding round, which has been postponed several times, will be held before Nigeria's general elections, which are scheduled to take place in April.

"We want to do some in-depth reviews, to incorporate the lessons we learnt in the last two bid rounds," Daukoru told delegates at an industry event.

But Daukoru gave no details as to what changes may be incorporated into the next bidding round.

However, he said the Nigerian government will "hopefully" make an announcement on the latest bidding round before the end of February.

Nigeria held an oil bidding round in 2005 and a mini-bid round in May 2006. But efforts to hold a major round since then haven't materialized.

In the mini-bid round, the Nigerian government tied some of the oil blocks to "strategic" downstream projects in a bid to drive foreign investment into areas such as power generation, refining and infrastructure development.

Investors who were willing to invest a minimum of $2 billion on the projects were given the right of first refusal on the blocks tied to them.

Daukoru said Tuesday that Nigeria had earned $1 billion from the 2005 bid round, and $350 million from the 2006 mini-bid round.

Oil ministry officials have so far given different figures - some as high as 60 - for the number of blocks to be offered in Nigeria's next bidding round.

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