Nigeria’s 2015 elections may prolong sale of Shell’s Nigerian asset, says CFO

May 01, 2014 | Mergers, Acquisitions & JVs, Nigeria

Lagos, Nigeria | – Anglo Dutch multinational oil exploration and production company, Shell has said the upcoming presidential and national assembly 2015 elections may complicate the planned sale of its Nigerian assets, which may drag as much as a year.

Shell’s Chief Financial Officer, Simon Henry, in a conference call with investors on Wednesday said: “What is slightly more challenging and difficult to predict is how we can get the overall approvals across the whole of the stakeholder environment including the government, because in previous transactions that has taken … up to a year.”

Shell, according to Bloomberg, is looking to make $15 billion in disposals worldwide this year and next, including the sale of its stake in four oil blocks in the Niger Delta, an area that holds a large share of Nigeria’s 37 billion barrels of oil reserves.

“We can come to a good commercial agreement,” he said, adding that the general elections, which begin with the Presidential poll in February 2015, could have an impact on the sale process, without saying how.
He said Shell’s move to divest 30 percent of the four blocks, along with the sale of 10 percent from Total and 5 percent from Eni, has attracted strong interest from potential buyers.

Analysts have estimated the value of the combined 45 percent at around $3 billion.

“We’ve had over 20 serious bidders mostly in consortium, with a Nigerian operator often with overseas operational financial or operational backing,” Henry said.

In the over 70 years that Shell has operated in Nigeria, it has faced serious problems on the Delta with oil theft, environmental damage, political protests and attacks on its facilities.

As part of any deal, the international oil major wants to minimize its exposure to further risks there.