The Department of Petroleum Resources has put on offer 57 marginal fields for licensing as part of efforts to develop oil and gas discoveries that had been left unattended to for many years. The DPR said this Monday while announcing the commencement of the 2020 Marginal Field Bid Round. According to the Agency, the bid round is open to indigenous companies and investors interested in participating in the exploration and production business in Nigeria. A marginal field is any field that has been discovered and has been left unattended for a period of not less than 10 years, from the date of first discovery, or such field as the President may, from time to time, identify as a marginal field. A total of 57 fields located on land, swamp and shallow offshore terrains are on offer, the agency said, explaining that the bid exercise, which would be conducted electronically, would include expression of interest/registration, pre-qualification, technical and commercial bid submission and bid evaluation. The new licensing round is the first marginal field round since 2003.

The Nigerian Senate has on Tuesday approved President Muhammadu Buhari’s request for $5.51 billion in external borrowing from international lenders, International Monetary Fund, African Development Bank, World Bank and Islamic Development Bank. The borrowing is part of a revised budget for 2020, which allows for the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and a sharp drop in oil prices, which has dented Nigeria’s spending plans because oil sales make up 90 percent of its foreign exchange earnings. The money from the International Monetary Fund, African Development Bank, World Bank and Islamic Development Bank is to fund the deficit. Buhari submitted a revised budget of ₦10.51 trillion ($29.19 billion) to parliament last week for approval. Additionally, the Senate raised the price of crude oil from $25 as the budget benchmark proposed by the executive to $28 per barrel. The benchmark was approved after the chairman senate committee on finance, Solomon Olamilekan, presented a report on the revised medium-term expenditure framework and fiscal strategy paper. The MTEF and FSP which the 2020 budget was predicated on were amended after a drop in crude oil prices owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Senate also fixed oil production at 1.8 million barrels per day.

The Nigerian electricity grid collapse on Tuesday, according to sources at the country’s Transmission Company. This is at least the third downtime the grid was experiencing in 2020 following shutdowns in January and April. There were no fewer than 12 recorded short-circuiting of the grid last year. The TCN, which is the only part of the energy industry still in the hands of the private sector has since 2017 began an expansion that it said increased its carrying capacity from 5,500 to 8,100mw. However, the average power distributed in the country hovers between 3,500 and 4,000mw daily.

Equatorial Guinea has accused the World Health Organisation of falsifying the country’s number of coronavirus cases. Consequently, the country asked the WHO’s representative to leave, according to the government and the UN health agency in a document dated 26 May. The country’s foreign ministry asked the WHO’s regional office in Africa “to end the duties” of its representative in Equatorial Guinea, Triphonie Nkurunziza, “and immediately oversee her departure from Malabo.” Prime Minister Pascual Obama Asue told the Senate last Friday that Nkurunziza falsified the data of people contaminated” by COVID-19. The PM clarified that the country doesn’t have a problem with the WHO, only with the WHO’s representative in Malabo. The AFP quotes an unnamed source at the UN office in Malabo confirmed the government’s request but declined to go into details. Nkurunziza is still in Malabo, the island’s capital, as there are no flights enabling her to leave, the source said. According to authorities as of 1 June, there were 1,306 recorded cases of coronavirus, 12 of them fatalities out of a population of 1.3 million.