INTERVIEW-Nigeria to hold licensing round by year-end - minister

ABUJA Tue Oct 23, 2012 10:09am EDT

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ABUJA Oct 23 (Reuters) - Nigeria will hold an oil exploration bidding round before the end of the year, while licence renewal talks with Shell and Chevron over existing onshore fields are in their final stages, the oil minister told Reuters on Tuesday.

"We expect within the next couple of months a marginal bid round will be announced. We hope a major bid round will follow before the end of the year," Diezani Alison-Madueke said.

"Shell and Chevron (onshore licence renewals) are ... in the final stages now, those will definitely be out before the end of the year," she added.

Exxon Mobil signed 20-year oil licence renewals on Nigerian onshore assets producing around 550,000 barrels per day in February but other oil majors are still negotiating terms with the government. (Reporting by Joe Brock; editing by James Jukwey)