Marginal oilfields: FG receives 50% of signature bonuses

The Federal Government said on Tuesday that it had received signature bonuses from 50 per cent of the winners of marginal oilfields following the conclusion of the bid process.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, disclosed this in Lagos while addressing journalists at the end of the first quarter 2021 Governance Meeting of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources.

The Department of Petroleum Resources had said in February that the government was expecting to generate at least $500m in revenue (N189.5bn) from the marginal field bid round.

The agency said the bid round would be concluded before the end of the first quarter of this year, adding that the successful bidders would be allowed for the first time in the country to pay the acquisition cost of the oilfields in naira.

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The Federal Government, through the DPR, had announced on June 1, 2020 the start of the 2020 Marginal Field Bid Round, with 57 fields available for indigenous companies and investors interested in participating in the exploration and production business in Nigeria.

The agency said last month that 161 companies had been shortlisted to advance to the final stage of the bid round.

“The process has been concluded. Letters have gone out and people have started paying their signature bonuses. We have received almost 50 per cent of signature bonuses already; 161 companies were allocated marginal fields and I will not give you the details of how many have paid,” Sylva said.

He described the process as very transparent, saying, “I think this is the best we could have got clearly. If you followed the processes, we published, people applied, companies were prequalified, and companies went to the data room and of course, assessment of their bids was done by competent people.

“There were consultants involved in the whole process and bidders emerged, and that’s all I can say. It was a very transparent process and I think a lot of people are also hailing the process.”

The minister said the government would push ahead with the rehabilitation of the country’s refineries, adding that of the Port Harcourt refinery for which $1.5bn was approved last week would start forthwith.

“We are going to also start the rehabilitation of Warri and Kaduna refineries shortly,” he added.

On petrol price, the minister said discussions were still ongoing with labour unions and other stakeholders.

“The price remains N162 per litre. Until all those discussions are concluded, we are not going to fully deregulate. But we understand that some people are beginning to sell the product for more than the approved price, and the relevant agencies should ensure that those marketers are sanctioned,” he said.

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