(Bloomberg) -- Nigeria’s government awarded permits allowing dozens of local oil companies to develop 49 marginal fields, concluding a tender process started two years ago.

Marginal fields are acreage carved out of existing permits that operators such as Shell Plc or Chevron Corp. have chosen not to develop. The government is hoping the firms given licenses on Tuesday will help Africa’s biggest crude producer to reverse the country’s declining output.

While 57 fields were put up for auction in June 2020, the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission issued 49 so-called petroleum prospecting licenses to more than 100 companies. 

The tender process has raised more than 200 billion naira ($477 million), the regulator’s chief executive, Gbenga Komolafe, said at a ceremony in the capital, Abuja.

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