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The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) on May 31st 2020, issued approved Guidelines for the Award and Operations of Marginal Fields in Nigeria and announced that the marginal fields bid rounds for 2020 will commence on Monday June 1st, 2020. After two previous stalled attempts to conduct marginal field rounds (2013 and 2017) following from the last successful award in 2003, the Federal Government of Nigeria (the “Government”) appears to be gaining serious traction on this one, with the DPR already recording a high level of positive response from industry players.

According to DPR, a total of 57 fields located on land, swamp and shallow offshore terrains have been listed for bidding comprising of small oil fields which major oil companies have considered unprofitable.

The exercise is to be conducted electronically via the designated online portal and will include expression of interest/registration, pre-qualification, technical and commercial bid submission and bid evaluation. The whole process is not expected to exceed six months from formal announcement to execution of Farm-out Agreements with awardees. According to the published schedule, submission of applications will end on Sunday June 14, 2020 and bid evaluation will commence on the following day, Monday June 15.

We have provided below a high level guide to the application and award process prior to negotiation of Farm-out Agreement which is not significantly different from the 2013 and 2017 processes.




THE PROCESS1.     Registration and Pre-qualification

2.    Data Prying

3.    Data Leasing

4.    Purchase of Field Specific Report

5.    Purchase of Competent Persons Report

6.    Technical and Financial Bid Submission

7.    Technical and Commercial Bid Evaluation

8.    Announcement of Winners

9.    Farm-out Agreement Negotiation and Signing

PROCESS SCHEDULE1.     Evaluation of Submission and Preparation of Report: 15th June – 28th June

2.    Announcement of Prequalified Applicants and Issuance of Fields’ Teasers: 28th June

3.    Data Prying, Leasing, Purchase of Reports: 29th June – 9th August

4.    Payment of Application and Bid Processing Fee and Submission of Technical/Commercial Bid: 29th June –  9th August

ELIGIBILITYDuly registered indigenous exploration and production companies excluding companies and their promoters that are indebted to the Government; and companies and their promoters with assets that are not being operated in a business-like manner.[1] Only prequalified companies can apply for the marginal fields on offer after making requisite payments.
CRITERIA FOR EVALUATION1.     Evidence of company’s existence, corporate structure and industry pedigree;

2.    Proof of technical and managerial capability/good  exploration and production experience, financial capability and ability and willingness to pay the requisite Signature Bonus;

3.    Nigerian Content plan;

4.    Commitment to Host Community/State participation and/or socio-economic development of Host Community/State;

5.    Federal character representation.

EVALUATION AND SELECTIONPrequalified companies shall be required to submit field specific technical and commercial bid simultaneously based on available data.
APPLICABLE FEESRegistration: N500,000

Application: N2,000,000

Bid Processing:N3,000,000

Data Prying:$15,000

Data Leasing:$25,000

Competent Persons’ Report:$50,000

Field-Specific Report: $25,000

Signature Bonus by successful bidders.

FIELDSApplicants must specify the fields they are interested in. We however do not see any indication of limitation on the number fields a single applicant may bid on.
ANNOUNCEMENT OF AWARDEESOnce approved by the President, successful applicants shall be notified by DPR for payment of Signature Bonus prior to award.
BASIS OF OPERATIONSole risk with possibility of back-in by the Government.


No doubt the Government is set to generate significant revenue from this exercise if successful although industry analysts are skeptical of its success due to the timing in an era of Covid-19 and unstable oil prices and uncertain legal and regulatory regime coupled with pre-existing issues surrounding the non-performance of most of the previously awarded marginal fields. We also wonder whether interested applicants will have the financial capacity to come up with the kind of money required for this process and whether investors will be willing to fund such a venture.

The Government is however of the opinion that the prevailing situation makes this the best time to invest due to low crude oil prices. As the proverbial saying goes, “Fortune favours the bold.” Time will tell.Read More…….


Aderemi Fagbemi        


+234 (0) 8099927408

[1] We assume this will involve a determination of progress on approved plans. Marginal field operators that have attained commercial production will definitely rank high in this regard whilst non-producing fields may need to provide good justification.

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At Tope Adebayo LLP, we strive to continually improve and cultivate a close understanding of the Nigerian industry, an intimacy with the legal and procedural regimes of the environments in which clients operate and a strong commitment to providing dedicated and comprehensive services to our clients.