A former Minister of State for Petroleum, Mr. Odein Ajumogobia has stated that all the onshore oil blocks belonging to the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and nine other blocks sold to indigenous operators by the oil giant and its partners would expire by 2019, ThisDay reports.

Speaking at a dinner organised at the weekend by the members of The Petroleum Club in Lagos, Ajumogobia listed the divested assets expiring in 2019 to include Oil Mining Leases (OMLs) 18, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 34, 40, and 42. Ajumogobia is also the Chairman of First Exploration & Petroleum Development Company Limited (First E & P), which paid $300 million to Shell and partners for a 45 per cent stake in OML 71 and 72.

Ajumogobia, who spoke on “Asset Disposals: Issues and Challenges,” said Shell would likely divest more blocks in line with its strategy to re-position its oil portfolio to deepwater. According to him, all onshore blocks except OMLs 23, 28, 35, which are vital for gas supply to the Nigeria LNG Limited could be open for discussion. SPDC in 2010, pioneered the divestments of onshore assets when it announced the transfer of its 30 per cent interest in OMLs 4, 38 and 41 to Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc.