Thursday, August 28, 2014

Shell Oil Company Plan To Leave Nigeria: Sells 4 Oil Fields In Nigeria?

Hmmm….according to leadershipng, oil giant Shell has sold four oil fields which it operated in Nigeria, in line with its global cost-saving initiative. Shell last year put up for sale its 30 per cent shares in four oil blocks in the Niger Delta — Oil Mining Licence (OML) 18, 24, 25, 29 — as well as a key pipeline, the Nembe Creek Trunk Line.

“We have signed sales and purchase agreements for some of the oil mining leases, but not all that we are seeking to divest,” a Reuters report quoted an un-named Shell spokesman as saying.

The report however did not give details on the value of the deals signed or when the full process would be completed. France’s Total and Italy’s Eni are also set to raise revenue from the sale of their 10 per cent and 5 per cent equities in the assets in which the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) holds 55 per cent on behalf of the Nigerian government.

Meanwhile, Nigeria has lost about N15 billion to the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS) and Joint Committee on Commerce (JCC) with the Republic of Benin between January and June this year, Customs area controller, Seme Border command, Comptroller Willy Egbunin has disclosed.

The Financial Times yesterday reported that Shell is close to selling the assets for about $5 billion (3 billion pounds) to domestic buyers.

In March, Reuters reported that Nigerian firms Taleveras and Aiteo made the highest bid of $2.85 billion for the biggest of the four oil fields, OML 29.

Shell, along with many other oil majors, is undergoing a broad process of asset sales across the world in an effort to cut costs and boost profits.

Other companies, including Total, Eni, Chevron and ConocoPhillips, have sought to pull out of the oil-rich West African country which has been plagued by rising oil spills, sabotage and industrial-scale theft from Nigerian wells and pipelines of up to 150,000 barrels a day.

Last summer, a Shell review flagged the possibility of scaling down operations in Nigeria and the company is now poised to sell four fields and a pipeline for what some believe could be $5 billion.

Despite the planned disposals, however, the Anglo-Dutch group still faces legal cases – including one at London’s high court – brought by local communities seeking financial redress for pollution.

A company spokesman in London confirmed that an agreement on four oil-mining leases and a pipeline had been reached, but said the process had not yet concluded.The price tag for the full sale of all four fields and the pipeline was estimated at $5.2 billion by two anonymous sources quoted by the FT, but City analysts had presumed in the past that the figure would be nearer $3 billion.

Reacting to the planned sale, London-based oil analyst at Bank of Montreal, Iain Reid, said, “If Shell can achieve this sort of price for these assets, it will have achieved three objectives: firstly reduced its exposure to troublesome onshore Nigeria; second cut its net capital expenditure spend; and third increased the free cash it can spend on share buybacks and dividends, all of which we believe the market will like.”

However, Shell would only receive a 30 per cent share of any proceeds because it shares the ownership of the assets with the NNPC, Total of France and ENI of Italy.

The Anglo-Dutch group, which says it has done its best to clear up pollution and has blamed past oil spills on sabotage, has been trying to reduce its commitment to the troubled area for years but has only now apparently found local buyers willing to pay the prices it has been demanding.

Shell’s new Chief executive, Ben Van Beurden, who issued a profit warning within days of taking the top job, promised to improve the financial performance of the business through asset sales and cutbacks.

Nigeria has produced almost a quarter of a million barrels of oil equivalents a day for Shell and at least 80,000 barrels would be lost if the four fields are all sold.

A spokesman for the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd (SPDC) said it would make a formal market announcement when it had successfully completed the sales process, but stressed that the company was not abandoning the country.“

Nigeria remains an important part of Shell’s portfolio, where we will continue to have a significant onshore presence in oil and gas, and which has clear growth potential, particularly in deep-water and onshore gas. Shell has a history of over 50 years in Nigeria and remains committed to the country and to supporting the government of Nigeria in their plans for the oil and gas sector,” he said.

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