Shell Receives Interest In Nigerian Fields

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Royal Dutch Shell, Europe's largest oil company, has reportedly received interest from several potential suitors for stakes in four of the company's Nigerian oil fields. Essar Group, Afren Plc and Perenco SA are among the potential bidders, Bloomberg News reported, citing sources with knowledge of the matter.

Shell (RDS-A), which has maintained a major presence in Nigeria for several decades, has seen its assets in the country become frequent targets of attacks by militant rebels, prompting the company to say last year it would look to divest some of its assets in the country. Nigeria, an OPEC member, is one of Africa's top oil producers.

The sale of stakes in the four exploration is part of Shell's plan to divest $5 billion in assets this year. Over the weekend, the company said it would sell downstream assets in 14 African countries to Vitol Group and Helios Investment Partners. Shell has sold $30 billion worth of global assets over the past five years.

The four Nigerian blocks could be sold individually and some private equity firms have expressed interest in purchasing them as well, according to Bloomberg.