NIGERIA – Total Group is seeking to sell its 12.5 per cent stake in a major deepwater oilfield off the coast of Nigeria, in an effort to adjust the energy company’s Africa portfolio amid a broad expansion, The Punch Nigeria has reported.

 According to The Punch Nigeria, Total’s stake in Oil Mining Lease 118, which is located some 120 kilometers (75 miles) off the Niger Delta, is valued at up to US$750 million.

OML 118 is operated by Royal Dutch Shell, which holds a 55 per cent interest. Exxon Mobil holds a 20 per cent stake in the block, while Italy’s Eni and Total each hold 12.5 per cent.

Reuters reports that reliable sources said that sale process, which was being managed by Rothschild Investment Bank, was part of Total’s plan to sell US$5 billion of assets around the world by 2020.

The block includes the Bonga field, Nigeria’s first deepwater project which started in 2005 and produced around 225,000 barrels of oil and 150 million standard cubic feet of gas per day at its peak.

Completion of the US$10 billion development is expected to increase output from the block to a maximum of about 200,000 bop, an amount equal to 10% of Nigeria’s current oil production.

Shell and its partners were expected to make an investment decision on Bonga Southwest last year but uncertainty over its fiscal terms with the Nigerian government have delayed the process.

Shell in February launched a tender for bids for a 225,000-bpd floating production, storage and offloading vessel for the new development phase. It has since pushed back the schedule for the bids.

The sale of OML block comes at a time when Total is planning to expand its operations in Africa.

Early this year, the oil major agreed to buy Anadarko’s Africa portfolio for $8.8bn as part of its acquisition by US rival Occidental Corporation.