The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has announced that 224 companies have submitted bids for the lifting and sale of crude oil during the upcoming 12-months calendar, Ecofin Agency informed.

NNPC’s Group Managing Director, Maikanti Baru, stated that about 700,000b/d of Nigerian equity crude, including 600,000b/d from joint ventures and 100,000b/d royalty and tax oils from production sharing contracts, will be put out for lifting, according to All Africa. NNPC will competed the selection process in February 2017.

In 2015, 278 companies had applied for a similar bid. NNPC estimates that the drop in bids is due to the introduction of new requirements in the bidding process. Baru stated: “Our focus is to enhance our production volumes, ensure the best value is realized through competitive marketing of our crude grades to international refineries and traders. NNPC is collaborating with key stakeholders to improve on the overall security of our production sites and to ensure the safety of our environment.”

In mid November, NNPC’s General Manager for Crude Oil Marketing Division, Mele Kyari,  had stated that NNPC would announce the names of companies qualified for the lifting of the country’s crude oil for 2017 by mid-December. Furthermore, NNPC in October had handed out guidelines for companies interested in partaking in the lifting of Nigerian crude for 2017