The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has invited local and foreign firms to bid for contracts for the sale and purchase of Nigerian crude oil grades in 2017. The duration of the term contract will cover a 12-month period, All Africa reported. NNPC will give special consideration to companies that own refineries that can process Nigerian crude, indigenous oil and gas companies as well as countries with high energy consumption.

NNPC has increased the number of off-takers of the country’s crude oil to 27 companies to be involved in the crude lifting process. This came almost a year after the company had awarded its 2016 crude oil contracts to 21 companies, according to Ecofin Agency.

Some of these companies included in the bid were Oando Plc, Forte Oil, Sahara Energy, A. A. Rano Nigeria Limited, Eterna Plc, MRS Oil and Gas, Televeras, Duke Oil and Trafigura.

Egypt Oil&Gas reported earlier that Nigeria’s Oil Minister, Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, said that the country expects its oil production rate to grow by 22% by the end of 2016 to reach 2.2mb/d from current levels. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) allowed Nigeria a production window of 1.8m to 2.2mb/d, despite the organization’s push for a production freeze.