The Anglo-Dutch supermajor Shell’s plans to sell US$5 billion worth of oil assets in Nigeria has been met by bemusement by the West African state’s government.

Newspapers in the UK reported at the weekend that Shell were planning to rid themselves of the fields due to harsher terms that are due to be implemented for foreign investors in the country’s hydrocarbons sector.

However Reuters has reported that senior officials in Nigeria are not aware of Shell’s plans to sell the assets.

“Shell has not informed the government of any such plans. “It is indeed curious, if the reports making the rounds in this regard are true, that Shell seem so keen on renewing their expired shallow water leases. We certainly intend to make a formal inquiry,” Minister of State for Petroleum, Odein Ajumogobia is reported by Reuters as saying.

UK newspaper The Sunday Times reported that the Chinese state-owned energy giants Sinopec and China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) had expressed interest in buying Shell’s Nigerian assets, which will be sold by auction.

Shell has yet to comment.

(Arabian Oil and Gas)