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Nigeria’s State-Run NNPC, ND Exploration Co. to Develop OML 34

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July 31 (Bloomberg) -- Nigeria’s state-owned oil company and Niger Delta Exploration & Production Plc, a local producer, signed an agreement to explore in the oil-rich southern Niger River.

The move is “part of measures to grow the in-country upstream capacity of the petroleum industry,” Andrew Yakubu, the newly appointed Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corp., said today in an e-mailed statement from Abuja, the capital. The two companies will explore and produce crude from Oil Mining Lease 34 where the state oil company owns 55 percent interest, the company said in the statement. Niger Delta Exploration owns the remaining 45 percent share.

OML 34 was previously operated by Royal Dutch Shell’s Nigerian unit, which held a 30 percent stake until the company divested its interest. Total SA held a 10 percent stake and Eni SpA had a 5 percent.

Nigeria is Africa’s top crude producer and produced an average of 2.18 million barrels per day in May, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. At least 90 percent of the country’s oil is pumped by the NNPC in joint ventures with Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp., Total SA and Eni SpA.

To contact the reporter on this story: Elisha Bala-Gbogbo in Abuja at ebalagbogbo@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dulue Mbachu at dmbachu@bloomberg.net

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