Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Nigeria Promises Block Awards In Two Weeks

Apparently under increasing pressure from foreign investors and the domestic economic demands of the two countries, the Nigeria-Sao Tome and Principe Joint Development Authority has promised awards will be be made within two weeks of the five blocks on offer to some of the 23 bidders, Nigeria's Daily Independent reoported today.

Nigeria, Sao Tome to announce JDZ block winners this month
by Charles Okonji
Senior Business Correspondent

The result of the recently conducted bids for five oil blocks in the Joint Development Zone (JDZ), owned by Nigeria and Sao Tome & Principe will be announced in the next two weeks, going by indications by Presidential Adviser on Petroleum and Energy, Dr Edmund Daukoru.

Daukoru said announcement of the winners of the oil blocks would kick-start the exploration of hydrocarbon resources in the JDZ, administered by the Nigeria-Sao Tome and Principe Joint Development Authority (JDA).

He said: “I believe that before the end of this month we will get the necessary high level approvals and we will announce the winners immediately.”

The JDA, which was established in 2002 to oversee the JDZ, had planned to announce the winners of the blocks last December 31, from the 26 bids it received from 23 companies.

Daukoru explained that the date could not be met because the Christmas and New Year holidays slowed down the activities of the joint ministerial council, charged with selectng the winners. The council, he said, is currently analysing the bids from the 23 companies taking into account the need to ensure transparency in the exercise.

He explained: “We have to weigh the signature bonus benefits versus the competence and technological know-how of the bidding companies to be able to arrive at a fair decision.”


Sao Tome, a former Portuguese colony of just 140,000 people with a per capita income of $326 per year, will take the remaining 40 per cent, which will give the country $50 million of the signature bonus for Block One. The country, until now, had depended on foreign exchange income of less than $8 million per year from cocoa exports and the sale of fishing rights to the European Union.

The article is at http://www.dailyindependentng.com.

The Daily Independent's was the third such article in two days about the awards, with one from the Guardian saying roughly the same thing, and one from This Day saying the awards would be delayed.

Dr. Edmund Daukoru, the president's special advisor on petroleum, has repeatedly vowed to complete the awards priocess with annopuncements by the end of January since failing to meet th Dec. 31 deadline he set in November.

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