Twenty-nine days after BusinessDay reported that the Federal Government had revoked six oil blocks, Nigeria’s Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) finally issued a statement Thursday, stating that five oil mining licenses (OML) and one oil prospecting license (OPL) belonging to five companies had been revoked.
According to TheCable, the regulatory body said the revocation was based on a presidential directive to “recover legacy debts” owed by the companies operating the licenses.
BusinessDay had earlier reported on May 8 that the Federal Government had revoked licences of six OMLs and one oil prospecting lease (OPL) in the onshore, shallow water and Deepwater Niger Delta basin over alleged non-payment of royalties.
BusinessDay learnt that the assets affected are OML 98 controlled by Pan Ocean; OMLs 120 and 121, held by Allied Energy, now Erin Energy (which is now bankrupt); OML 108, owned by Express Petroleum, OML 141 held by Emerald Resources, and OPL 206, held by Summit Oil International, a company founded by the late Moshood Abiola.
But some industry stakeholders are alleging double standards in the Federal Government’s action as it was said to have applied different and milder sanctions on other companies that committed the same offence. While the government revoked the licences of some companies, it was learnt that the government only seized the crude belonging to some other defaulters.
The stakeholders say the government action would send the wrong signal to prospective investors in the oil and gas sector as they might fear government severe sanctions at the slightest infraction.
More details later…