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The Nigerian government has unveiled plans to increase its share of the revenue from its multi-billion dollar oil industry while expanding the search for fresh fields into its arid far north.
ABUJA, Nigeria (AFX) - The Nigerian government has unveiled plans to increase its share of the revenue from its multi-billion dollar oil industry while expanding the search for fresh fields into its arid far north.
Among other measures, the government will introduce a royalty on offshore production, and place an 80 pct ceiling on the income foreign oil majors can reserve to cover their own costs before sharing income with the state.
Nigeria will also reduce the size of the exploration blocks it offers to the international standard of 1,250 square kilometres from 2,500, said President Olusegun Obasanjo's petroleum adviser, Dr Edmund Daukoru.
He said that Nigeria's 'deep offshore has become one of the most prolific deepwater provinces in the world. However, the fiscal terms... are now less favourable to government than in other parts of the world.'
Nigeria's onshore oil is produced by a series of joint-venture companies in which international majors -- Shell, ChevronTexaco (NYSE: CVX - news) , ExxonMobil, Total -- share equity with the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) as majority partner.
The county's oil production has thus far been concentrated in the Niger Delta swamps and the coastal waters of the Gulf of Guinea, but on March 22 government will begin seeking bidders for a swathe of new licences on land and offshore.
Daukoru said firms hunting for fresh supplies of oil and natural gas would be able to bid for the rights to 63 promising exploration blocks.
While 12 of the blocks are in deep water in the Atlantic and another 12 in the Niger Delta, the rest are in Anambra, the Benue river valley and the basin around Lake Chad in Nigeria's poverty-stricken mainly-Muslim northeast.