LAGOS, June 15 Royal Dutch Shell's Nigeria
operation is working on selling three oil blocks in its latest
move to divest some onshore assets, a spokesman said on Friday.
Shell has been winding down some of its onshore
operations to focus on offshore and deepwater drilling. The
sales follow similar divestments over the past two years.
The Nigerian government, which is trying to increase
ownership of oil blocks by local companies, has encouraged such
"SPDC (Shell Petroleum Development Corporation) is working
towards the potential divestment of OMLs 30, 34 and 40,"
spokesman Tony Okonedo said by telephone.
He declined to comment on any negotiations or whether an
offer had already been made for them.
Shell's onshore facilities are plagued with problems such as
militancy and rampant oil theft, but Okonedo insisted there was
no link between this and the divestments.
"We will continue to look at opportunities to rationalise
our portfolio," he said. "This is not Shell leaving Nigeria but
rather a refocusing aimed at strengthening our long-term
position in country."
Last year Shell sold its 30 percent stake in Nigerian
onshore oil block OML 42 to local consortium Neconde Energy,
which includes Nestoil Group, Aries E&P Company Limited, VP
Global and Poland's Kulczyk Oil Ventures, for $390 million.
The Anglo-Dutch major also divested its 30 percent stake in
block OML 26 to First Hydrocarbon Nigeria (FHN), which is
part-owned by Afren, for $98 million in the same year.
In 2010 it assigned three blocks, OML 4, 38 and 41, to Seplat
Petroleum, Okonedo said.