Nigeria has said the ongoing licensing for seven deep offshore open oil blocs, which commenced on January 3, 2023, would end in April.

The ministry of petroleum resources had opened the process in the month, calling for bids from both local and international oil exploration companies with capability and experience for deep water operations to come in and bid.

The Nigeria Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission [NUPRC] chief executive officer, Mr. Gbenga Komolafe, confirmed the timeline at a pre bid conference in Lagos.

The pre-bid conference was held following the announcement of the 2022/2023 mini-bid round exercise on December 22, 2022.

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Speaking at the conference, which had its theme as “Growing Upstream Investment in Nigeria through Licencing Round: The Bid Process and Opportunities,” Komolafe said the approval of the exercise by President Muhammadu Buhari was the first in the last 15 years.

Komolafe said the commission had announced the commencement and launched the bid round portal which was officially opened on January 3, 2023.

“The exercise is scheduled to last for approximately four months along the following processes: registration and pre-qualification, data prying/purchase, technical bid submission/presentation, technical bid evaluation, and commercial bid conference,” he stated.

According to him, in compliance with the provisions of the PIA 2021 and regulations made pursuant to the Act, the commission issued a licensing round guideline and published a licensing round plan for a total of seven deep offshore open blocs.

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The blocs include PPL-300-DO, PPL-301-DO, PPL-302-DO, PPL-303-DO, PPL-304-DO, PPL-305-DO and PPL-306-DO.

“The seven deep offshore blocks, covering an area of approximately 6,700 km2 in water depths of 1,150m to 3,100m, are on offer in this mini-bid round. They are intended to be the first in a series of bid rounds aimed at further development of our prospective petroleum basins.”

The pre-bid conference, Komolafe explained, is an opportunity for technically and financially capable local and foreign investors to invest and take advantage of the generous fiscal and regulatory regime in the Nigerian upstream petroleum sector. It is a market-driven programme expected to outperform the last bid round which was held in April 2007 during which a total of 45 blocs were put on offer.

By Ken Okoye 

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