Friday, 14 January 2011
Nigeria: Oil licensing round unlikely before Q3 2011
Oil and gas industry sources suggest it is almost certain that the next oil licensing round in Nigeria will not take place earlier than the third quarter of 2011. According to our sources, President Goodluck Jonathan had faced pressure to rescind his decision to conduct an earlier licensing round, which had previously been scheduled to take place anytime between August and December 2010.
The success of the argument to shelve plans for a licensing round before the 2011 general elections appears to have been based on that a pre-election bid round could create a credibility crisis for the president. The uproar that followed the botched 2007 oil licensing round, conducted by former president Obasanjo at the end of his tenure, is likely to have served as a cautionary tale.
On several occasions last year, Minister of Petroleum Resources Diezani Allison-Madueke had insisted that a new licensing round would take place in 2010. She has been silent on the issue in recent months, however. The new round is expected mainly to concern marginal fields and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), which is responsible for organising bid rounds, is reported to have submitted a list of 38 marginal fields for consideration, by the minister and the head of state.
For more news and expert analysis about Nigeria, please see Nigeria Focus and Nigeria Politics & Security.
© 2010 Menas Associates