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FG promises transparency in marginal fields licensing

By The Citizen


The federal government has pledged to ensure transparency in the second oil marginal fields licensing for the upstream sector of the oil and gas industry.

The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke made the pledge on Thursday in Abuja at the inauguration of the second oil marginal fields licensing.

“Today, we are here to flag off the second marginal field licensing round,

“Over the next two weeks, the Department of Petroleum Resources will undertake a road show to different parts of the country about the program,

“This will be followed by a three and half month of competitive bidding process in line with the Federal Government's commitment to openness and transparency in the conduct of business activities in the country,'' she said.

She said the bid process was designed to boost the participation of Nigerian indigenous companies in the upstream and to generally increase exploration and production activities in the oil and gas sector.

Giving details of the licensing round, the minister said that a total of 31 fields were on offer with 16 of them located onshore, while the remaining 15 are in the continental shelf.

She advised the indigenous companies with interest in the bid process to form consortia that would enable them leverage upon each other's strengths.

Alison-Madueke also gave an update on the last marginal fields bid round which held in 2001 and noted that of the 24 fields that were allocated to 31 indigenous oil companies in that exercise, eight were already producing while the others are at various stages of development.

She said that the marginal field operators who currently account for about 1% of the nation's productions have also recorded huge discoveries in excess of 100 million barrels to the nation's reserve base.

The minister said that out of the eight assets that have so far been divested by the IOCs, at least four are held by active marginal field operators, who have continued to demonstrate remarkable technical ability in operating significantly larger assets.

“In their operations, the companies have addressed corporate social responsibility as a critical element, by providing for stakeholder participation as part of their success factors.

“In addition, their development strategy is in line with the nation's Gas Flare Policy and global environmental guidelines on Green House emissions, by ensuring full utilisation of their associated gas,'' she said.

She said the Federal Government was encouraged by the modest achievements of the marginal field operators in line with the objectives of the local content policy to kick off this marginal field licensing round.

On the proposed sale of the refineries, she reiterated government's stance to move away from managing major infrastructure, adding that government was going ahead with the original plan to rehabilitate the refineries so as to be able to get a premium price from their sale.

She maintained that adequate room has been made in the privatisation time-table for engagement with all stakeholders to resolve all labour issues to ensure a win-win situation for all.