Thursday, January 27, 2005

Nigeria May Return Seized Oilfields, Daukoru Says

The 15 oilfields seized from four multinational oil companies in Nigeria may be returned to them, Dr. Edmund Daukoru, the nation's top energy advisor said, apparently when the companies leveraged their multibillion LNG projects against the seizures.

ERHC On The Move reported the seizures two weeks ago. According to the government, 24 fields were seized from multinationals and local companies. The government said the fields were not developed until they stepped in, and that together they are now producing at the rate of 63,000bpd, or more than $1 billion of crude a year. The fields hold an estimated 100 millions barrels of oil.

According to an article in The Punch of Nigeria, a widely-read and generally reliable publication there, Daukoru told The Punch correspondent Micheal Faloseyi that "oil companied claimed that the revocation order would affect some of the liquefied natural gas expansion projects."

Each of the major oil companies in Nigeria, including ChevronTexaco, ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch/Shell and Total have planned LNG processing plants announced over the past month that total more than $20 billion in value. None of the plants hzve a start date, and the plans are widely seens as efforts by the multinationals to gain the upper ground in the battle royale being fought for concessions in the Gulf Of Guinea and in Nigeria.

The Jan. 26 article in The Punch reported:

Revocation of oil blocks threatens liquefied

Micheal Faloseyi, Abuja

The Federal Government’s recent revocation of 24 oil blocks belonging to four multinational crude oil exploration and production firms, is now threatening some of the liquefied natural gas expansion projects in the country.

That order might already have jeopardised the projected $22 million revenue the Federal Government planned to realise from the sales of the oil blocks.

Presidential Adviser on Petroleum and Energy Matters, Dr. Edmund Daukoru, had in an interview with our correspondent, confirmed The Punch exclusive report on the revocation order, when he said that the affected oil companies were protesting that decision by the Federal Government.

He said that the oil companies claimed that the revocation order would affect some of the liquefied natural gas expansion projects.

Daukoru said that the government was studying their protest and that it might return some of those oil blocks that are relevant to liquefied natural gas expansion projects. But, he said this would not be until their claims have been verified.

The Adviser said that the only thing that could make the Federal Government recapitulate on the revocation order, was proof of the claims by the oil firms that some of the oil blocks were dedicated to liquefied natural gas projects.

He said that the government could not be swayed by the allegations that the delay, or shortfall in government counterpart funding of oil and gas projects, was responsible for the long period of abandonment of the affected oil blocks.

According to him, “We are saying that within the available resources, these oil blocks have taken the back seat in terms of activities all these years. We are not just talking of five years to six years. We are talking of over 15 years.”

The article appears at

Smaller companies are apparently unaffected by today's move. They originally bid for and won some concessions without adequate cash to develop them, hoping instead to sell them to a major producer for a quick profit. That has not happened. In some cases, the majors have not displayed much interest in developing the fields, either, depriving the government of what can be a potent revenue stream.

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