Total announced that its operating subsidiary in Nigeria, Elf Petroleum Nigeria Limited (EPNL), has signed an agreement with Nigeria’s Conoil Producing Limited to acquire a 40% interest in offshore Oil Mining Lease (OML) 136. Conoil, the most important indigenous Nigerian petroleum company, holds the remaining 60% stake.
The Nigerian authorities have granted the necessary approvals. Covering an area of 1,295 square kilometres, OML 136 lies around 60 kilometres offshore in water depths of 80 to 300 metres.
EPNL will be the technical advisor. Conoil, which has started operation in 1990 and operates six permits in the Niger Delta, remains the operator of OML 136. Both parties will jointly conduct additional exploration of the lease, as well as appraisal and development of any discoveries.
A total of fourteen wells have already been drilled in OML 136, producing two large natural gas discoveries, Toju and Akarino. Appraisal of Toju, possibly followed by Akarino, will determine the block’s development potential.
The acquisition is in line with an integrated strategy of developing upstream natural gas resources that can be monetized via downstream projects, in particular liquefied natural gas production projects. In Nigeria, Total is active in the LNG business through its participations in Nigeria LNG (15%) and in the Brass LNG (17%) project, as well as Obite and Afam power generation projects.
Following on the heels of the acquisition of an interest in OMLs 112 and 117 in 2006, this entry into the OML 136 will bolster Total’s onshore and offshore gas production portfolio in Nigeria OMLs 99, 100 and 102, operated by Total in a joint venture with NNPC, also contribute to current offshore production in Nigeria, mainly from the Amenam, Ofon and Odudu-area fields.