Nigeria in Negotiations with Shell, Chevron

ABUJA, Nigeria (AFP), Jan. 20, 2010

The Nigerian government is in talks with Chevron Corp. (CVX) and Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSA) over the renewal of their shallow-water oil licenses, an official statement said Tuesday.

"Chevron and Shell are still in negotiations with the Federal Government...over the renewal of their expired licenses," a statement by the ministry of petroleum resources quoted Junior Oil Minister Odein Ajumogobia as saying.

The statement countered media reports that the renewal of the licenses was stalled due to the absence of President Umaru Yar'Adua.

Yar'Adua left Nigeria Nov. 23, and has since been receiving treatment in a Saudi Arabia hospital for a heart ailment.

"The minister of petroleum resources has the full authority under extant laws to renew leases and licenses," the statement said. It said no specific authorization from the presidency was required.

In May 2008, the state-run Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation signed an oil-financing deal worth $2 billion with Mobil Producing Nigeria, a unit of Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM).

The same month, the Nigerian state-run company signed a similar deal worth $1 billion with Elf Petroleum Nigeria Limited.

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