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Who has key to unlocking stranded oil field OML 11?

The Department of Petroleum Resources ( DPR) is currently running the 2020 bid round for 57 marginal oil fields located offshore, swamp and onshore terrains in the Niger Delta. This exercise is expected to be concluded this year 2020. The activities are run in accordance with specific Guidelines made public as part of the bid process. When completed, the fields will be allocated to the oil companies who successfully scale through the Technical and Commercial tender evaluations, and pay the required signature bonus. Thereafter the companies will be given license to enter into the fields, and commence exploration and development to produce oil and gas.

The 57 fields selected carefully excluded all the fields in OML 11 within the geographical territory of Ogoni, that have remained locked in due to crisis in the communities and insecurity. The exclusion was necessary to avoid further crisis, as every attempt by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) to cede the Ogoni oil fields to an operating company for resumption of Exploration and Production (E&P) activities have failed, since the forced shut down in 1993 when the operator SPDC, was chased away. All the plans to get an operator back have failed, primarily because the attempts were done secretly, with selected companies not going through an open and transparent process, in line with recognized industry practices. Some of these companies included Belema Oil, Robo Michael, TEN Oil, and more recently Sahara Energy. All these were rejected by Ogoni people because they were allegedly forced on them.

According to Eddie Wikina ,former managing director, Treasure Energy Resources Limited, and an ex general manager in

Shell Nigeria, It is generally a considered opinion that any process that will lead to successful resumption of E&P activities in Ogoni must include views and wishes of the people; and they must be open and transparent.

Ogoni people he said have gone through a wide stakeholder’s engagement process, to produce a Template to guide the process of selecting an Operator who is acceptable. The Template addresses the Needs, Interests, Concerns and

Expectations of the wide spectrum of Ogoni people. The Template is based on the model of Partnership, Respect, Inclusiveness and Participation.

The evolution of the Ogoni Template lays the foundation, and produces the opportunity for the DPR to seize and conduct a special bid round for the OML 11 oil fields in Ogoni. The same process applied in the current bid round for 57 marginal fields should bet followed, but with Me Guidelines refined to reflect the Ogoni Template_ This is the key to unlocking the stranded vast oil and gas reserves within OIVIL 11 in Ogoni. The fields should be thrown open to interested Nigerian ad companies, and award to follow any of these options:

1. One oil field allocated to one company.

2. Maximum of two oil fields awarded to one company.

3. Combination of 1, 2 or 3 companies awarded 1 or a number of fields.

The above will lead to reduced risk exposure for the companies, and also ensure reduced financial burden in raising capital for field development. Sharing of the fields will create more employment opportunities, and lead to faster development to reach first nil Awarding all the fields to one company is therefore not recommended. It is ex cad that the usual community incidents and crisis will be eliminated or substantially reduced, since the award process included the demands of the people as enshrined in the Ogoni Template.

Majority of Ogoni people have been yearning for resumption of E&P activities with sores preconditions which include assurance of environmental safety, and meeting specific social and economic development needs. This recommendation addresses their needs and concerns, and will lead to Early re-opening the Ogoni kingdoms to the much desired economic activities after 27 years oil inactivity, that resulted in increased poverty insecurity. Militancy, Illegal bunkering and environmental degradation. The key for this to happen lies with the DPR.

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