Chevron to sell 40% stake in three more blocks

By The Citizen

Chevron Nigeria Limited, a subsidiary of the United States' Chevron Corporation, has announced its intention to sell its stake in three additional shallow water oil blocks in Nigeria.

The company said it would be disposing of its 40 per cent stakes in OMLs 52, 53 and 55 in the Niger Delta, thus bringing the number of oil blocks in which it has already put up its stake for sale to five.

The oil major had last week declared its readiness to divest its stakes in two shallow water oil blocks in the country: OML 83 and OML 85.

The two blocks where it put up its stake for sale last week are believed to hold an estimated 200 million barrels of oil and an unknown quantity of natural gas.

A company spokesman had described the move as 'part of a continuous process of portfolio evaluation and business prioritisation.'

With its interest in five oil blocks on offer, Chevron said it would prefer to sell to indigenous companies as a way of boosting the Nigerian content in the oil and gas industry.

Chevron owns 40 per cent stake in 13 shallow water blocks with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, and also has several deep offshore assets.

Reuters reported that the sale of the company's stake in the oil blocks would be handled by French bank, BNP Paribas.

It said the disposal would bring down operating costs, improve efficiency and provide other smaller businesses, particularly indigenous companies, opportunities to grow.

First Hydrocarbon Nigeria, which has partnered with London-listed Afren on previous Nigeria deals, had already expressed interest in at least one block, oil sources said.

Chevron's share of the five blocks would amount to reserves of between 200 million and 250 million barrels of combined crude oil and condensate, two oil industry sources told Reuters.

Chevron's divestment plan did not come as a surprise as a number of oil majors have been divesting from some of their oil blocks in the country.

Royal Dutch Shell, Italy's Eni and France's Total have sold several Nigerian onshore blocks in recent years, while US firm, ConocoPhillips, is selling its Nigerian businesses to Oando Energy for about $1.79bn.