President Bola Tinubu has approved the sale of more Nigerian oil and gas fields reportedly abandoned by international oil companies, the Nigeria oil minister said.
Heineken Lokpobiri, the Minister of State for Petroleum disclosed the approval on Wednesday during a tour of a modular refinery, Waltersmith Petroman Oil Limited, in Ibigwe, Ohaji-Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State.
The minister explained that a bidding exercise would soon begin but did not disclose if it was going to be opened to the public.
The bid for more oil and gas fields comes four years after about 57 marginal oilfields were sold by the Muhammadu Buhari government in 2020.
The process which was concluded in 2022 is yet to provide a boost to the Nigerian oil sector as many awardees are struggling to begin work due to lack of funds and regulatory challenges.
In a statement released by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), the minister said, “Marginal fields would (henceforth) be prioritised in terms of their location to those who have modular refineries so that they will be able to produce.”
He added, “The quickest way to fix our energy challenge in the country should be through modular refineries, while we await the total rehabilitation of the big refineries.”
Marginal field exercises are reserved exclusively for Nigerian companies. This federal government policy provides an opportunity for local firms to participate more actively in the oil and gas exploration and production sector.
On his official X handle, formerly Twitter, the minister urged license applicants to adhere to the conditions given to them. “Our commitment to a robust and responsible petroleum industry remains steadfast but not without a stern reminder to license applicants and holders, to adhere to terms and conditions of operations or lose their licenses,” he said.