By Babajide Okeowo
Royal Dutch Shell is set to earn up to $3 billion after placing more of its onshore oil assets in Nigeria for sale with at least five Nigerian oil and gas companies preparing to submit their respective bids for the acquisition of the assets this month, Reuters is reporting.
The Anglo-Dutch company has stakes in 19 oil mining leases in Nigeria’s onshore oil and gas joint venture (SPDC), which the industry and banking sources said were valued at between $2 billion to $3 billion.
Shell operates SPDC (Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria) and holds a 30 per cent stake in the venture.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited holds 55 per cent, TotalEnergies has 10 percent and ENI five per cent.
Shell has also struggled for years with spills in the Niger Delta due to pipeline theft and sabotage as well as operational issues, leading to costly repairs and high-profile lawsuits.The sale has drawn interest from independent Nigerian oil and gas firms including Seplat Energy Sahara Group, Famfa Oil, Troilus Investments Limited and Niger Delta Exploration and Production (NDEP), sources said.
No international oil companies were expected to take part in the bidding process at this point, the sources said, adding that bids were due by January 31.
A Shell spokesman declined to comment. Sahara Group said it did not comment on market speculation.
Seplat, Famfa, Troilus and NDEP did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
NNPC could also choose to exercise its right to pre-empt any sale to a third company, the sources said.
They said it was unclear whether potential bidders could raise sufficient funds as many international banks and investors have become wary about oil and gas assets in Nigeria due to concerns about environmental issues and corruption.
Some African and Asian banks, however, were still willing to finance fossil fuel operations in the region, they said.
Troilus has hired Nigeria-focused Africa Bridge Capital Management to raise up to $3 billion for the assets, according to sources and documents seen by Reuters. Africa Bridge Capital reportedly declined to comment.
Any buyer of Shell’s assets will also need to show it can deal with future damage to the oil infrastructure which has ravaged Nigeria’s Delta in recent years, the sources said.
Recall that Shell last year started discussions with the federal government about selling its stake in the onshore fields, where it had been active since the 1930s, as part of a global drive to reduce its carbon emissions.