Nigeria has given approval for a licensing round aimed at re-allocating acreage left dormant by concessionaires for 10 years, hoping local suitors can develop fields deemed non-commercial by majors.

The Marginal Field Bid Round could launch within a fortnight, with awards to local operators announced before the end of the year in tandem with a parallel initiative by the Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialisation Programme to grant third-party access to stranded gas across the Niger Delta.

The exercise includes 22 fields wrested from concessions held by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), 12 fields left dormant by Chevron, 11 fields held by ExxonMobil, five fields held by Total and two fields under concession by Agip.