Nigeria plans bidding round for 7 deepwater offshore blocks

Nigeria plans bidding round for 7 deepwater offshore blocks

The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), on behalf of the Federal Government, is planning to hold a mini-bid round for seven offshore blocks in order to spur new exploration and drilling activities in the country’s deep waters.

Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC)

The seven blocks in the Mini Bid Round cover an area of approximately 6,700 km2 in water depths of 1,150 to 3,100 meters and are said to have extensive 2D and 3D seismic data coverage, including multi-beam and analog data. 

Additionally, a 3D Mega Survey Plus reprocessed Pre-stack Time Migration, completed in October, with angle stacks and gathers is also available to prospective bidders.

A pre-bid conference is scheduled for 16 January 2023 where potential applicants will have an opportunity to ask questions concerning the process and requirements, after which interested companies will be invited to submit their pre-qualification applications by 31 January.

NUPRC said it will provide further details and a roadmap for the international competitive bid round in “due course”.

According to Gbenga Komolafe, NUPRC Chief Executive, the Mini Bid Round is the first in a series of bid rounds aimed at further development of the prospective petroleum basin. It will be held in accordance with the Petroleum Industry Act 2021 (PIA), with enhanced legal and regulatory frameworks that seek to encourage new investors and investments into the next phase of exploration in the region.

It builds on the last bid round that was held in April 2007 during which a total of 45 blocks were put on offer. Komolafe notes that this previous round, held under a different regulatory regime (the Petroleum Act, 1969), generated massive interest and participation with its attended revenue which made the exercise a success.

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This summer, Nigeria signed new production sharing contracts (PSCs) for six offshore licenses with oil majors in a move to bring new investments into the oil and gas sector and boost production by tapping into the country’s deepwater hydrocarbon potential.

The execution of fully termed agreements for the renegotiated PSCs was revealed less than a month after President Muhammadu Buhari unveiled the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC), a development which saw the firm officially transiting into a limited liability entity as enshrined in the provisions of the PIA 2021.