Chief Timipre Sylva, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources.

Adebayo Obajemu

Over 300 applications have been received by Nigeria after it recently put up 57 marginal oil fields for its next bid round, Business Hallmark can confirm.

Sources in the know hinted though that the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, expect nothing less than 500 applications before the close of the application deadline.

Although foreign firms had indicated interests in this round, the Federal government has made it clear that the marginal fields are meant for Nigerian entities only.

This bid round was flagged-off 18 years after the last one in 2002.

For the 2020 oil bid round, the DPR announced that a total of 57 fields located on land, swamp and shallow offshore terrains are on offer.

It added that the exercise, which will be conducted electronically, will include expression of interest/registration, pre-qualification, technical and commercial bid submission and bid evaluation.

Having fallen short of the expected target of 500 show of interest, last week, the DPR decided to extend the application date by one week, to end by June 21.

Although DPR did not give reason for the extra one-week extension, however, Business Hallmark findings shows that many companies were unable to gain access to the portal.

Again, findings show that there are currently pending cases on some of the marginal fields about to be auctioned.

The cases had already been dragged to the federal high court which then restrained the Minister of Petroleum Resources, the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, and the Director of DPR from selling, auctioning or accepting bids for some marginal fields belonging to some oil and gas operators.

The marginal field operators include Associated Oil and Gas Limited, Dansaki Petroleum Unlimited, Bayelsa Oil Limited, and Bicta Energy and Management Systems Limited.

Others are Del-Sigma Petroleum Nigeria Limited, Goland Petroleum Limited, Independent Energy Limited, Sahara Energy Limited, Sogenal Energy Limited, and African Oil and Gas Limited.

The federal government had threatened to revoke licenses belonging to the operators because, while most of the fields have remained undeveloped, others have not been able to renew their licenses after expiration, denying the country billions in royalties.

Although the operators alleged that they have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the production and development of the affected marginal fields.