LAGOS Oct 10 Shell Nigeria is putting
up for sale four onshore Niger Delta oil blocks with a combined
production of around 70,000 barrels per day (bpd), two industry
sources said on Thursday, the latest move by an oil major to
divest assets from the area.
Shell is one of several oil majors selling off fields in the
swampy delta, where production on some fields is peaking and
operations are plagued by rampant oil theft and fraught
community relations owing partly to frequent spills.
It plans to sell oil mining licenses (OMLs) 18, 24, 25 and
29, the sources said. The Anglo-Dutch company said in June that
it planned a strategic review of its eastern delta assets.
Shell Nigeria spokesman Precious Okolobo said that "the
review is ongoing and therefore we are not in a position to
confirm which, if any, blocks may be put up for sale."
"Nigeria remains an important part of Shell's portfolio,
where we will continue to have a significant onshore presence in
oil and gas," he added in an emailed response to Reuters.
Since 2010 Nigeria has had a policy of encouraging more
direct ownership of its oil and gas by Nigerians, either through
the state oil company or local private firms. That has raised
concerns among foreign oil majors they may lose smaller assets
if they do not sell now, industry experts say.
Four years after militant attacks against oil companies in
the delta ended with an amnesty, they remain a major target for
oil thieves, whom Chatham House says stole 100,000 barrels a day
in the first quarter of this year.
U.S.-based Chevron Corp is considering bids this
week from prospective buyers of three oil blocks in the delta
with total reserves of around 134 million barrels.
Africa's biggest oil producer usually pumps 2 million to 2.5
million barrels per day of oil, most of which is exported.