Total completes $1-bn Nigerian divestment

French oil and gas giant Total SA has sold its stake in onshore oil mining lease (OML) 29 to Nigeria's Aiteo Eastern E&P for $569 million, thus completing its planned divestment of over $1 billion in three Nigerian oil blocks.

Recently, the company sold its stakes in two blocks OML 24 and OML 18.

Total's chief financial officer at Patrick de La Chevardière said in a statement:, ''The sale of these non-operated onshore blocks in Nigeria is yet another example of our strategy of dynamic portfolio management, achieved at attractive valuations.''

''These transactions also reduce our exposure to non-operated blocks onshore Nigeria, and allow us to focus on our core, operated developments, such as the Egina project,'' he added.

A slump in crude prices have prompted energy majors to slash investment in a bid to reduce costs and improve earnings. Oil prices have fallen to around half from their June highs to around $56 a barrel.

Total is a 10-per cent stakeholder in several onshore oil blocks in Nigeria through a joint venture with Shell Petroleum Development Company which owns a 30-per cent stake and is the operator alongside the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation with 55 per cent stake and Nigeria's Ajip Oil Company Ltd holding 5 per cent.

Since 2010, Total has divested its interests in eleven onshore blocks to Nigerian companies, in line with the Federal Government of Nigeria's aim of developing Nigerian companies in the sector, Total said.

The oil giant has been operating in Nigeria for over five decades and produced around 257,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boed) in 2014.

Total's main growth avenues in the country are its deep offshore gas and condensate developments in the Akpo and Egina fields in OML 130.

Total is the operator of the fields holding 24-per cent interest. Other stakeholders in the venture include China's CNOOC with 45 per cent, Brazil's Petrobras with 16 per cent, Nigeria's NNPC and Sapetro with 10 per cent and 5 per cent stakes respectively.

Besides, the company operates a joint venture with NNPC in the Amenam-Kpono, Edikan and Ofon offshore fields.

The company also has stakes in onshore production ventures and also non-operated ventures including LNG facilities operated by Nigeria LNG on Bonny Island.