NNPC, FHN seal pact to operate Shell oil block

14 November 2011, Sweetcrude, Abuja – Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has signed an agreement with First Hydrocarbon Nigeria to jointly operate an onshore oil block divested by Shell, Total and Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC).

First Hydrocarbon Nigeria had earlier won the bid for the divested 45% stake in Oil Mining Lease 26. NNPC holds the remaining 55%.

NNPC upstream subsidiary, the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) and First Hydrocarbon Nigeria have now signed a Joint Operating Agreement to develop,
explore and produce crude oil from OML 26, NNPC said in a statement. The partners target output of 50,000 b/d from the block by 2015.

“Shell, Total, Eni unit NAOC and NNPC have worked together to ensure the divestment process was completed without a hitch,” the Group Managing Director of NNPC  who also doubles as the NPDC Chairman, Austen Oniwon said the sigining cefremony.

“NPDC has the necessary resources (capital and human) and, working closely with FHN, is poised to give quality services to the venture in the interest of both partners,” Oniwon added.

The assignment of NNPC’s 55% interest in OML 26 to the NPDC is in line with a target to raise the latter’s output to 250,000 b/d within four years, and Oniwon pledged that NNPC will not interfere with the business of NPDC, we will always support the company to achieve its set target of becoming an international E&P company.

Managing Director of Shell Nigeria, Mutiu Sunmonu, as saying he was confident FHN and NPDC would develop the block successfully. “The divestment of the IOC’s interests in the block brings to a closure a thorny issue that has been with us for sometime,” Sunmonu said.

Also speaking, Mr. Egbert Imomoh chairman of FHN, said the vision of the MOU entered into with NPDC a few years ago is being realized with this partnership on OML 26 and FHN would seek for more opportunities jointly with NPDC.

He said FHN would bring professionalism to bear on the venture since the deal holds great potentials for the company and community development as well as safety would take centre stage in the exploration, development and production of the block.

“We will support the growth and development of NPDC within the shortest possible time, now that we have tied the knot,” Imomoh stated.

NNPC in August said NPDC had taken over the operatorship of four oil blocks previously operated by Shell. Shell, along with Eni and Total, had divested their 45% interest in OMLs 30, 40, 32 and 42.

NPDC has also acquired a 55% participatory interest in OMLs 4, 38 and 41, also previously operated by Shell. Fields in the blocks have a total output of 30,000 b/d.

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