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Associated Press: 3 oil majors ink deal with Nigeria for gas venture

September 21, 2006

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Oil majors Total SA, ENI SpA and ConocoPhillips signed a deal with Nigeria’s state oil firm Wednesday for a $2 billion natural gas plant in the country’s southern oil region, a senior official said.

Martin Hutchison, managing director of the project, said the shareholders agreement will regulate the building and running of a liquefied natural gas plant at Brass in the Niger delta that will target North American and European markets.

The group has reached purchase agreements with six buyers covering the entire production of the first two LNG-producing units at the plant, Hutchison said.

Construction of the plant is expected to start in 2007.

Nigeria is believed to have proven natural has reserves exceeding 170 trillion cubic feet, most of it barely exploited. More than 60 percent of the natural gas occurring with oil production in Nigeria is burned away for lack of investment in gas-gathering facilities.

Growing violence by militants in the main southern oil and gas region, fighting for local control of its wealth, has cast a shadow of insecurity on oil and gas investments there. Brass LNG plans to engage the communities in enlightenment campaigns and development initiatives to help promote understanding, Hutchison said.

Nigeria’s first major natural gas plant on Bonny Island in the southern Niger Delta — jointly owned by Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Cos., Total, ENI and the Nigerian state oil company — has grown from an initial investment of $3.8 billion in 1999 to more than $10 billion after several expansions.

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