Shell Denies Plans to Sell Major Nigerian Assets

LAGOS, Nigeria (Dow Jones), Feb. 5, 2010

Royal Dutch Shell PLC has denied it plans to sell major Nigerian assets in the coming months, a Nigerian minister said Friday.

"Shell hasn't come to us and when I inquired they denied it, that they were selling major assets," Odein Ajumogobia, State Minister for Petroleum Resources, told Dow Jones Newswires.

"There are a few small transactions that we've approved with Nigerian companies that they are farming into or buying out from Shell, but in terms of a large, significant divestment, they simply haven't told us. When I asked top Shell executives, they denied it," he said.

In December, the Wall Street Journal reported that Shell was looking to sell onshore assets holding roughly 100 million barrels of oil for $4 billion to $5 billion.

Last week Shell made a much smaller deal, agreeing to the sale of three non-producing oil blocks with a estimated production capacity of 50,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day to a consortium of a French company and two Nigerian companies.

Ajumogobia said the prospect of Shell selling off Nigerian assets "doesn't worry me in the slightest."

"The Chinese have made a very significant offer, and there are Korean companies, Indian companies," he said. "That's the beauty of the free market, one company is entitled to sell its interests to another."

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