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DPR kicks off first licensing round for marginal oilfields after 18 years

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Indigenous firms and investors, seeking involvement in the oil and gas exploration and production business in Nigeria, are now at liberty of taking part in the Nigerian government’s latest licensing round for marginal oilfields, its first in almost two decades.

The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) Monday said fifty-seven fields with locations in land, shallow and swamp offshore terrains are up for grab in government’s 2020 Marginal Field Bid Round programme, which launched yesterday, contrary to a court ruling last week, prohibiting the auction of a number of the fields.

Marginal oilfields, typically smaller oil blocks developed by local firms, last had their licensing round in Nigerian in 2002 and there is optimism that the latest exercise will spur oil production while generating income from license fees.

Read also: AN END TO A FUTURE: DPR forecasts Nigeria’s oil reserves will dry up in 49 yrs

“The exercise, which will be conducted electronically, will include Expression of Interest/Registration, Pre-qualification, Technical and Commercial bid submission and bid evaluation,” DPR’s management said in a statement on its website.

Nigeria retracted the existing marginal oilfields’ licenses in order to include them in the new licensing round.

According to court documents viewed by Reuters, government proceeded to announce the licensing round despite Lagos judges stopping attempts to withdraw two existing licenses.

Among the 11 licenses the DPR revoked and which were planned to be added to the licensing round were Dawes Island Marginal Oil Field (previously known by OML 54) and the Ororo Field, OML 95.

In the last week of May, two Lagos judges had issued separate verdicts, stopping the inclusion of the two fields in any licensing round.

Ronald Adamolekun

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Ronald Adamolekun

Ronald Adamolekun is a creative writer with a mixed bag of experience in fields as diverse as data journalism, financial reporting and editing.

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