Nigeria’s Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has denied reports that a new set of guidelines has been issued for marginal fields.
The agency said the document that has been circulated, “Guidelines for farmout and operation of marginal fields 2020” is fake. It called on stakeholders to disregard these, which it said were the work of “unscrupulous persons and mischief makers”, who were interested in defrauding “unsuspecting individuals and investors alike”.
The DPR said people should rely on information distributed only by itself and through official channels.
It was unclear how the circulation of a false set of guidelines might be used to defraud investors. The document appears similar in many ways to the DPR’s guidelines on marginal fields from 2013, albeit with some updates, such as the inclusion of the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract Act 2019,
Interest in a marginal field round was sparked last week when Nigerian National Petroleum Corp.’s (NNPC) managing director Mele Kyari said this would be held in 2020.
The country had intended to hold a marginal field round in 2013 and 2017 but these did not materialise. One marginal field round has been held, with 24 licences awarded in 2003. Results have been mixed, with those winning areas largely unable to progress these finds into production.
Kyari said the current crisis had made a “full-scale licensing round” less attractive as the country would struggle to secure foreign investment. Offering small existing finds to local companies was seen as more attractive, he said, because the cost of development would be low.
Local companies may struggle to sign up new financing from banks to support bids in a marginal round, which is likely to pose problems for the planned offering.