Nigeria Concludes Marginal Field Bid Round, 18 Years After

•80 winners get award certificates
•NNPC eyes stakes in five more private refineries

Emmanuel Addeh

The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) yesterday concluded the 2020 marginal oilfield bid round, the first successful bid since 2003 when 24 assets were put on offer.

The process, which culminated in the presentation of letters to the bid winners in Abuja by the industry regulator, started in June last year, with 57 marginal fields spanning land, swamp and offshore put up for lease by the federal government.

This came just as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) yesterday unfolded plans to acquire shares in five more private refineries in Nigeria, bringing to six its interests in refineries it is targeting.

However, during the bid round, the DPR stated that 161 successful companies were shortlisted to advance to the final stage. Those shortlisted were selected from 591 entities that applied for pre-qualification.

Marginal fields are smaller oil blocks typically developed by indigenous companies and have remained unproduced for a period of over 10 years.
Some of the companies, which emerged winners included: Matrix Energy, AA Rano, Andova Plc, Duport Midstream, Genesis Technical, Twin Summit, Bono Energy, Deep Offshore Integrated, Oodua Oil, MRS and Petrogas.

Others are: North Oils and Gas, Pierport, Metropole, Pioneer Global, Shepherd Hill, Akata, NIPCO, Aida, YY Connect, Accord Oil, Pathway Oil, Tempo Oil and Virgin Forest, among others.
It was a big win for local oil and gas companies, which had a good outing during the ceremony as 100 per cent of the beneficiaries of the exercise were indigenous entities.

Nigeria last conducted marginal field bid rounds in 2003, with 16 of the fields now contributing just two per cent to the national oil and gas reserves, a figure the DPR said would be substantially boosted by the latest exercise, worth about $500 million in signature bonuses.

At the presentation of letters to the winners, DPR Director, Mr. Sarki Auwalu, stated that a total of 591 firms submitted expression of interest forms, out of which 540 were pre-qualified, while 482 were bids submitted by 405 applicants.

He said: “In the end, 161 companies were shortlisted as potential awardees, out of which 50 per cent has met all conditions and therefore eligible for awards today. We are set to ensure opportunities are extended to other deserving applicants to fill the gap.

“The DPR is not just a regulator, we are an opportunity house. We drive creativity and transformation and we use these in all of our activities. This is done in the overriding national interest.”

According to him, the bid will enhance economic growth, increase Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and create employment, while with the experience garnered before now, mistakes of the past will be avoided.

He said that the desire of the government was for the awardees to hit “first oil” in record time, adding that a technical workshop will be organised with all bid winners for guidance on field development and operations.

He pledged to support the bid winners to operate within the country’s oil and gas space, urging them to take advantage of the oil and gas centre recently inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari.

“Despite the daunting challenges of the triple force (oil price crash, global pandemic and production cuts) in 2020, which dealt a severe blow on the world market and global economy, the DPR forged ahead with government aspirations for the industry,” he said.

He stated that the exercise was carried out in two phases, expression of interest and prequalification, as well as technical and financial phase.

He said the phase one ensured that applicants were subjected to screening of basic documentations such as shareholders’ details, directors, management team, procedures and systems, legal and association status, basic technical capability, financial capability and corporate accountability.
Auwalu stated that the DPR has now provided opportunities through the marginal field bid round to indigenous operators for wealth creation and economic growth consistent with government’s drive for increased GDP, employment generation and improved revenue.

“The DPR will continue to follow up and guide the awardees every step of the way. For instance, a guiding template of working agreement has been drafted for joint awardees and discussions have reached advanced stage between DPR and lease holders on the Farmout agreement and other technical enablers,” he added.

Earlier, the Head, Basinal Assessment and Lease Administration (BALA) of the organisation, Mr. Edu Inyang, said when the exercise was being embarked upon, the objectives were to increase indigenous participation in the oil and gas industry, increase reserves, rev up technological transfer, attract investment and enhance revenue generation.

He stated that a large part of the objectives had been achieved, with the culmination of the process in the presentation of letters.

Assistant Director, DPR, Mr. Abel Nsa, in his remarks, said with the revocation of 11 licences, Nigeria was losing a lot of revenue, with taxes and royalties not being paid on the assets, leaving about 40 million barrels unproduced and many opportunities missed.

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