By Camillus Eboh
Nigeria will issue prospecting licences on Tuesday to companies that won rights to develop marginal oilfields, the petroleum industry regulator said on Saturday, some two years after authorities sought bids for the oil blocks.
Marginal fields are smaller oil blocks located onshore and in shallow waters and are typically developed by local companies.
Gbenga Komolafe, head of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, said in a statement that issuing the licences was one of the most critical tasks for the agency, which was established last year after Nigeria passed a new petroleum law.
Nigeria, Africa’s biggest oil producer and exporter, wants to boost production from the fields to bolster state finances and increase local participation in the oil sector, which provides the bulk of the country’s foreign exchange.
While local companies have become increasingly important to the industry, it remains dominated by international oil majors that are selling onshore assets to concentrate on deep-water drilling.
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