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Groups to dig deep for Nigerian leases

Financial Times

By Tom Burgis in Lagos

Published: December 13 2009 22:58 | Last updated: December 13 2009 22:58

Three of the world’s biggest oil companies are poised to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to hold on to prime concessions in Nigeria following keen Chinese interest in the planet’s 10th richest crude reserves.

ExxonMobil, the largest US oil group, is to pay a “signature bonus” of as much as $600m after securing a new 20-year lease to three blocks it has operated for four decades and which currently produce 580,000 barrels a day, people familiar with the situation said.

Royal Dutch Shell is close to finalising similar renewals that might see it surrender some concessions, industry insiders said, while Chevron, the second placed US group, is yet to agree a deal even after some of its leases expired at the end of last month.

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