(Updates with comments from NNPC in second paragraph.)
Feb. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer, said crude-producing licenses operated by Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Chevron Corp. will be renewed within a month as it concludes a review of expired or soon-to-lapse leases.
“We will renew the expired licenses before the end of March,” Austen Oniwon, group managing director of state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corp., said at a conference in Abuja, the capital.
The West Africa nation signed a deal today with Exxon Mobil Corp. to renew for 20 years oil leases 67, 68 and 70, which together produce about 550,000 barrels a day, Mark Ward, managing director of Exxon’s Nigerian unit, told reporters.
Negotiations for 16 oil blocks operated by companies including Exxon, Shell and Chevron have been under way for over two years. Shell is “optimistic” about the process and the “sooner the renewals, the better,” Mutiu Sunmonu, the company’s chairman for Nigeria, said at the conference.
Nigeria is the fifth-biggest source of U.S. crude imports. Shell, Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Total SA and Eni SpA operate joint ventures with Nigerian National Petroleum that pump about 90 percent of the country’s crude.
--Editors: Raj Rajendran, Rachel Graham.
To contact the reporter on this story: Elisha Bala-Gbogbo in Abuja at firstname.lastname@example.org Chris Kay in Abuja at email@example.com
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