According to a report by Africa Intelligence, Dangote Industries submitted the highest bid for Shell’s stake in Oil Mining Lease (OML) 18 at an auction organized last year in the Niger Delta region. The financial details of the bid and the exact stake Dangote is looking to acquire are undisclosed.
Shell is currently the operator of the Alakiri Creek plant on the OML 18 field. The Alakiri Creek plant processes 80 million standard cubic feet per day (MMpc/d), but has the potential to rise to 120 million square feet per day (mmsf/d). The OML 18 field is said to have reserves of close to 1.5 billion barrel of oil equivalent (BOE) of gas.
This is not the first time Dangote would make an attempt to acquire an asset owned by the Dutch oil major. In 2010 Dangote put in a bid for Shell’s 45% stake on OML 30, but lost his bid to Conoil Producing, an exploration company owned by billionaire Mike Adenuga. The Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), the exploration and production subsidiary of the Nigerian government-owned oil company would later cancel the sale of the stake to Adenuga and sell it to London-listed Heritage Oil PLC. Shell has recently been divesting from some of its key Nigerian assets in the wake of crude oil theft and weak refining margins.
Dangote, who made his $24 billion fortune trading cement, sugar and flour, has recently ramped up his efforts to boost his investments in Nigeria’s booming oil sector. While his largest and most publicized investment in the energy sector is a planned $9 billion private oil refinery in Nigeria, Dangote also owns minority stakes in a handful of oil exploration concerns, including a 9% stake in block 1 in the Joint Development Zone between Nigeria and Sao Tome, where Chevron is the operator. He also owns a 10% stake of block 3 in the JDZ.
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