Nigeria & Sao Tome to Make Licensing Round Results Public

Officials from Nigeria and Sao Tome have said that they will make public the results of the licensing round currently being held for blocks in the Joint Development Zone.

Pressure has mounted on developing countries and oil and mining companies to release more information about massive payments for natural resources, which is often misused in some of the world's poorest nations in Africa. Some Western oil companies have said they are ready to reveal financial details, including multi-million-dollar "signature bonuses" on oil concessions, but are prevented doing so by confidentiality agreements with the host governments.

Taju Umar, chairman of the Nigeria-Sao Tome and Principe Joint Development Authority (JDA) said they would release information about the signature bonuses publicly after the October 18th deadline for bidding. Details of royalties, profit-oil rates and taxes will also be made public as part of the production-sharing agreements, which are loosely based on Nigerian models, he added.

This week the JDA has launched a roadshow for nine ultra-deepwater offshore oil blocks. The JDA is a 60/40 venture formed by Nigeria and Sao Tome after the two countries set aside their maritime border disputes. Each block carries a minimum signatures bonus of $30 million and the cumulative bonuses could exceed $200 million.