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Licensing for oil blocks will cease in April – FG


The Federal Government declared on Monday that the seven deep offshore open oil blocs’ licensing round, which started on January 3, 2023, will extend for four months.

It asked investors with knowledge of and experience with deep-water operations from around the world to accept the financial terms of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021 and participate in the bidding for the oil blocs.

This information was revealed in Lagos during the pre-bid conference for the 2022–2023 licensing cycle of petroleum prospecting licenses in deep offshore Nigeria by Gbenga Komolafe, Chief Executive, Nigeria Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission.

Following the declaration of the 2022/2023 mini-bid round exercise on December 22, 2022, the pre-bid conference was held.

Speaking at the conference, whose theme was “Growing Upstream Investment in Nigeria through Licencing Round: The Bid Process and Opportunities,” Komolafe said that the exercise had received the President’s clearance for the first time in the previous 15 years.

The NUPRC chairman said in his speech, which was sent to our correspondent in Abuja, that the commission had declared the start of the bid round and established the portal, which was formally 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.

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He stated that the commission issued a licensing round guideline and published a licensing round plan for a total of seven deep offshore open blocs in accordance with the terms of the PIA 2021 and regulations enacted pursuant to the Act.

PPL-300-DO, PPL-301-DO, PPL-302-DO, PPL-303-DO, PPL-304-DO, PPL-305-DO, and PPL-306-DO were among the blocs he listed.

The seven deep offshore blocks, which span an area of roughly 6,700 km2 and are located in waters with depths ranging from 1,150 m to 3,100 m, are up for grabs in this mini-bid round, according to Komolafe.

“These are intended to be the first in a series of bid rounds aimed at further development of our prospective petroleum basins.”

He said the bid rounds were within the context of the commission’s legal and regulatory frameworks, as enshrined in Section 73 of the PIA, which sought to encourage new investors and investments into the next phase of oil and gas exploration in Nigeria.

“Let me clearly indicate that this pre-bid conference is a clarion call to 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.

“The mini-bid round 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 under a different regulatory regime (the Petroleum Act, 1969),” he stated.

Also speaking at the pre-bid conference, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, said the process was formulated in cognisance of global sustainability goals.

“On the global scale, the licensing round will no doubt be beneficial to all stakeholders and will in the long run contribute to long-term global energy sufficiency”, he said.

According to the minister, interestingly, the oil and gas industry in Nigeria has embraced the reality of energy transition and is taking a strategic position to leverage the opportunities presented by the unfolding era.

Sylva also said that seven oil blocs had been listed for the ongoing mini 2022/2023 bid rounds.

“The seven deep offshore blocks have been thoroughly evaluated and are believed to have significant potential for hydrocarbon reserves. They are in some of the most promising areas of the deep waters of Nigeria which have been de-risked by other producing fields nearby,” he said.


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