The upper chamber of the National Assembly has ordered the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission to reverse the Atala marginal oil field license revoked from Bayelsa.
Daily Trust reported that the operating licence was revoked in 2020 by the defunct Department of Petroleum Resources and re-awarded to another oil firm, Halkin Exploration and Production Company Limited.
The oil field was formerly managed by the trio of Bayelsa Oil Company Limited, Hardy Oil Nigeria Limited and Century Exploration and Production Limited by NUPRC.
After their license was revoked, the previous managers, kicked, as they had begun production and even paid royalties to the federal government.
Recall, that the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (Ret’d.) had, in October 2020, in response to the appeal by the Marginal Field Operators Group, directed the immediate “reinstatement of the ten revoked Marginal Fields licences, on a discretionary basis, to qualified companies with consideration given to the previous operators of the respective fields subject to the demonstration of technical/financial capacity and payment of applicable Good and Valuable Consideration.”
But the defunct DPR (Now NUPRC) through a letter dated February 28, 2021, signed by Auwalu Sarki, purportedly on behalf of Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipriye Sylva, awarded the oil field to Halkin Exploration and Production Limited which is not among the previous operators, leading to petitions filed against that breach of Mr President’s directive to the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions by the Atala JV Partners, the previous operators and the rightful beneficiaries of the presidential leniency .
The senate, after adopting the recommendations of its committee on ethics and privileges after investigating the matter, ordered the re-allocation of the oil field to the previous operators, in compliance with the earlier directive of the president.
The senate said, “This recommendation is in line with the presidential directive which was applied in returning the nine marginal fields to their original owners/operators.”