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Bloomberg: Exxon Mobil, Repsol, Centrica May Bid for Nigerian Oil Blocks

By Grant Smith

April 18 (Bloomberg) — Exxon Mobil Corp., Repsol YPF SA and Centrica Plc were among companies attending a Nigerian oil ministry presentation today on the auction of exploration rights in Africa’s biggest producer.

Nigeria plans to complete the auction, delayed from last year, of 41 on- and off-shore blocks next month. Repsol and Centrica, along with Cnooc Ltd., China National Petroleum Corp. and Korea National Oil Corp., are among 10 companies being offered preferential bidding rights on 17 of the blocks.

“It is our objective to conclude the 2007 bid round by the middle of May 2007,” Nigerian Energy Minister Edmund Daukoru said today at a roadshow for potential buyers in London. A final presentation is due in Houston on April 30.

The decision to complete the bidding round, formally opened on April 2, in less than two months puts the process on a “very fast track,” Daukoru said in a written speech distributed to delegates. Nigeria is scheduled to hold presidential elections on April 21 and President Olusegun Obasanjo is due to hand over power to his successor on May 29.

“There is no basis for fear” that the formation of a new government after the elections would “upset” the award of contracts, Daukoru said. “Sanctity of contracts is one of the cornerstones of this round.”

Nigeria, the sixth-biggest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries last month, according to Bloomberg data, aims to almost double output to 4 million barrels a day by 2010.

Korea National Oil Corp. and ONGC/Mittal are the only companies being offered preferential rights on deepwater offshore blocks, according to information on the Nigerian Department of Petroleum Resources Web site. ONGC/Mittal is a joint venture formed by New Delhi-based Oil & Natural Gas Corp. and Mittal Investments.

The other participants given preferential rights are Sterling Global, Dangote Group, Malaysia’s Petroliam Nasional Bhd., and Global Steel ERL.

To contact the reporters on this story: Grant Smith in London at
Last Updated: April 18, 2007 14:39 EDT

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