This Day (Lagos)

4 April 2011

Nigeria: Adenuga Wins Shell's Most Prolific Onshore Oil Block

Nigeria's billionaire business mogul, Dr. Mike Adenuga Jnr, has won Shell's most prolific onshore oil block - Oil Mining Lease (OML) 30, emerging the third indigenous investor to clinch Shell's asset in the company's ongoing divestment programme, aimed at growing indigenous companies in the country.

Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) had put on offer OMLs 26, 30, 34, 40 and 42, some of which sources said contain reserves of up to 2 billion barrels of crude oil.

The four blocks are located in the western swamps of the Niger Delta, with Shell as the operator of the blocks, while France's Total and Italy's ENI and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) are partners.

However, indications emerged Sunday night that Adenuga's Conoil Producing, which submitted a bid of $650 million each for OMLs 30 and 42, has emerged the successful bidder for OML 3O.

Adenuga's acquisition covers SPDC's 30 per cent stake; Total's 10 per cent interest, and Agip's 5 per cent stake in the oil block.

OML 30 is currently producing 45,000 barrels a day, with two others producing an estimated 26,000 barrels per day combined, while the fourth block is not currently producing crude oil, according to sources familiar with the deal.

Elcrest, a consortium comprising Starcrest Nigeria Energy Limited and Eland Oil and Gas Limited led by another business mogul, Emeka Offor, had during the weekend emerged the successful bidder for OML 40.

However, successful bidders for OMLs 26, 34 and 42 were yet to emerge as at press time.

The oil giant had in January 2010 ceded the ownership and operatorship of OMLs 4, 38 and 41 to Seplat Petroleum Company Limited, an indigenous consortium jointly formed by two Nigerian firms - Platform Petroleum Limited, and Shebah Petroleum Development Company Ltd, along with Maurel & Prom of France.

With this latest transaction, Adenuga has emerged the third indigenous investor to grab Shell's onshore block in its ongoing divestment programme in the Niger Delta.

THISDAY had reported that Adenuga's Conoil Producing submitted a bid of $650 million each for two Oil OMLs 30 and 42, while Dangote Group offered $600 million for Shell's stake in OML 30.

Femi Otedola's African Petroleum (AP) was also said to have submitted a bid of $515 million for the same OML 30, while a consortium of Addax Oryx and Perenco and Oando Plc was bidding for SPDC's stake in OML 42.

Eighteen consortia had expressed interests in the oil fields, including Neconde Energy, of which Ernest Azudialu's Nestoil, is said to be a member.

Others are Oando Group Plc backed by China's Addax Petroleum and Perenco, an Anglo-French company; United Kingdom-registered Afren; and Niger Delta Petroleum, believed to be owned by the governments of the South-south states.

However, several companies had withdrawn from the transaction or were automatically disqualified, either because their bids were considered too low, or their inability to meet the deadline given by Shell to escrow 10 per cent of their bid price with J.P. Morgan in the UK.

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