The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has announced on Wednesday that over 600 companies had applied to bid for the 57 marginal oil fields made available by the Federal Government.

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The DPR had earlier announced the commencement of the 2020 Marginal Field Bid Round for indigenous companies and investors interested in participating in the exploration and production business in the country.

A marginal field is any field that has been discovered and has been left unattended for a period of not less than 10 years, from the date of first discovery or such field as the President may, from time to time, identify as a marginal field, according to the DPR.

The Director/Chief Executive Officer, DPR, Mr Sarki Auwalu, who spoke at a webinar organised by the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists on Wednesday, said the development of the marginal field was evolving and significant gains were being recorded.

He said the government would remain focused on the gains of marginal fields development and continuously put measures in place to sustain the initiative.

He said challenges were being addressed to ensure sustainable development.

Auwalu said, “First, I will say that we witnessed an increase in the number of bidders after the extension of the deadline to June 21. There has been an almost 30 per cent increase in participation.

“If you are making a bid or auctioning any oil field, you need to get 10 people per field really going after the field. We have 57 fields and we have over 600 companies. So, we can say that we are celebrating success so far.”

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He attributed the increased interest in the bid round by companies to the transparent and credible procedures put in place by the agency.

“After the extension, we are moving according to schedule and now we are in the phase where we do pre-qualification for the bidders to apply. Everything is going perfectly,” Auwalu added.

According to the DPR, applicable fees per field are N500,000 for registration; N2m for application; N3m for bid processing; $15,000 for data prying; $25,000 for data leasing; $50,000 for competent persons’ report, and $25,000 for field-specific report.

The bid round is aimed at growing production capacity by expanding the scope of participation in Nigeria’s petroleum sector and increasing oil and gas reserves base through aggressive exploration and development effort.

The DPR said consideration would be given for host community/state participation, as well as a commitment to social projects and/or proposal aimed at the socio-economic development of the populace in the host community/state.

It said pre-qualification would be open to all indigenous companies that are duly registered to carry out petroleum exploration and production operations in Nigeria.