China and Nigeria have signed an agreement to develop oil fields 64 and 66 in the deep waters of the oil-rich Niger Delta in southern Nigeria, according to state oil company publication NPDC News.


The managing directors of the China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec) and the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) Ð the exploration and production arm of the state-owned Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation Ð signed the oil mining leases (OML) recently, said NDPC News. Sinopec must start drilling oil from the OMLs within the next eight months.


“The agreement is an important building block to future opportunities aimed at fostering greater cooperation between the two companies,” it said.


According to the NDPC News, the initiative will help improve Nigeria’s petroleum industry and economy.


It reported that five exploration wells had been drilled on OML 64 and one had already struck hydrocarbon resources. On OML 66, 18 exploration wells had been drilled with 12 finding hydrocarbon reservoirs, it added.


Nigeria is the largest oil producer in Africa and the sixth largest oil exporter in the world with a daily output of 2.5 million barrels of crude.