Essar eyes stake in Shell's Nigerian assets

Ruias-owned Essar Group is among four consortia in race to buy Royal Dutch Shell Plc's stake in four oil fields in Nigeria. 

"At least one Indian group has expressed interest to buy the stakes," visiting Nigerian Foreign Minister Henry Odien Ajumogobia told reporters here. 

Though the company was named by the visiting dignitary, according to sources, Essar has put in a bid in association with Nigerian-owned, Energy Equity Resources and UK-based Sacoil. 

Among the four consortia shortlisted by Shell as preferred bidders for four onshore blocks in Nigeria's troubled Niger Delta which are being sought to be offloaded is a grouping led by Perenco of France with Swiss trading firm Addax & Oryx Group Ltd and Oando Plc of Nigeria. 

Another bidding group has Heritage Oil Plc of the UK and Nigerian contractor Shoreline Energy International. Vertex Energy with backing from Capital Alliance is also said to be in the race. 

Also in the fray, are long-standing Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) joint venture partner PanOcean, Nigerian independent Conoil and the Seven Energy tie-up with international construction contractor Petrofac. The group, though, is not a preferred bidder.