Italian energy concern Agip announced on November 20th that it had formed a new partnership deal with state-run Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. (NNPC) to bid for oil projects outside of Nigeria.
NNPC has made efforts in recent months to diversify its investment portfolio with stakes in foreign oil and gas projects, particularly in refineries.
An Agip spokesman said that: “We are carrying NNPC outside Nigeria in exploration and production.” He added that: “This is part of the total package we gave for acquiring oil prospecting license 91 and in our bid for deep offshore block 244.”
Nigeria is expected to award contracts for the development of promising deep offshore oil blocks in December, with competition among foreign companies, including Agip, thought to be strong.
NNPC is currently also in negotiations with Venezuelan oil officials regarding possible investment in the South American country, and on November 21st, Nigeria is to hold discussions with Namibia concerning a joint refinery in the southern African country.
Nigeria has seen a decrease in output from domestic refineries and has had to shell out for large amounts of imported refined products to make up for the shortfall. NNPC has indicated that imports will be reduced going into 2001, when refineries will have completed rehabilitations.
Nigeria is in the process of reorganizing the state oil company ahead of the privatization of its downstream assets, including four domestic refineries, petrochemical and natural gas plants.