The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) on Monday awarded marginal oil field licences to some indigenous oil companies, including A.A. Rano, Shafa Exploration, Matrix Energy, Vhelblerg Exploration and a few others barely a year after 2020 marginal field bid round was opened.
Some other winners of the licensing round include, Sigmund Oil Field, Emadeb Energy, Casiva Ltd, Duchess Energy and Duport Midstream.
Speaking at the licence award ceremony in Abuja, DPR Director/CEO, Engr. Auwalu Sarki, said exploration of the fields by the licensees would raise Nigeria’s daily oil production capacity beyond the current three million barrels per day level.
The industry chief explained that after undergoing lengthy and vigorous processes associated with the licensing order, 161 companies were shortlisted as potential awardees out of which 50 percent had fulfilled all the licensing requirements.
Sarki promised that the DPR would collaborate with the new licensees to ensure their commitment to the development of the fields for first oil exploration as soon as possible.
He said: “The journey began exactly one year ago, 1stJune 2020 with the launching of the Bid round registration portal. The portal eased the registration and application process and ensured a transparent exercise.
“It also provided the platform for the virtual data room. It is important to state that the industry-enabled National Data Repository (NDR) provided all the requisite technical and logistics support for the successful conduct of the exercise”, the Director added.
While promising that the indigenous companies face minimal or no challenges from the International Oil Companies (IOCs), the original lease owners for the fields, Sarki pointed out that initial challenges that scuttled the full development of the last marginal fields award 17 years had been tackled by the DPR.
According to him, out of the 24 fields awarded in 2003, 11 fields still remained undeveloped locking in over 40 million barrels of oil.
He expatiated: “With the lessons of the previous exercise we want to refocus, change the approach, we have developed strategy to ensure you (the companies) and the awarded fields achieve early development.
“The DPR will continue and guide all of you every step of the way. For instance, the guiding template for working agreement has been drafted for joint awardees and discussions have reached advance stage between DPR and lease holders on the farm out agreement”, Sarki added.
He expressed optimism that the development of the oil fields will stimulate job creation because “all the awardees have to recruit people which mean more taxes and revenue to government and at the same time it enhances the GDP because the contribution of the industry to the GDP is very low”.
Commenting on how the new licence awards would improve Nigeria’s oil production, he said: “What DPR did was evaluate various recovery factors. We saw the average recovery value that we do have now, ranges from 27-38. If we increased this by five percent only across, we will hit the 40 billion barrels and at the same time we will hit above three million barrels.
“We have identified 7,000 reservoirs and we are producing from about 1,700 reservoirs. We took each of the producing reservoirs to see what kind of enhanced oil recovery that we need to put and once we put the secondary and tertiary recovery methods, technically we grow the reserves and production for the country”.
In his remarks at the event, Chairman of Vhelblerg, Bank Anthony Okoroafor, who spoke on behalf of the bid winners, thanked DPR for making the bidding processes transparent.
He urged DPR to support the new licensees by urging the IOCs to allow the indigenous operators use their facilities if it is the most effective options.
During the 2020 bidding round, 591 companies applied for the 57 oil fields on offer.