Despite the revocation order by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) on the operating license for Oil Mining Lease (OML 46), Bayelsa State government is insisting on reclaiming ownership of the oil lease.
The OML was one of acreages whose license was revoked by the petroleum industry regutory authorities for lack of performance.
But, during the recent Marginal Oil Licensing Bidding Round, the Bayelsa State government-owned oil company reapplied to the DPR for the restoration of the licenswe.
The latest bid was, however, not successful, as the license was not among the 52 issued to new operators at the end of the exercise.
OML 46 located within onshore swamps in the state was previously allocated to the Bayelsa State Government in 2013 after a bidding process conducted by the DPR.
But on April 6, 2020, DPR announced the revocation of 11 of the 13 marginal oil fields licences issued to indigenous oil firms as part of efforts to build indigenous capacity and promote Nigerians’ participation in the oil sector.
Reacting to the development, the Bayelsa State governor, Douye Diri, expressed shock over the decision by the DPR to revoke the operating license and the recent unsuccessful bid by Bayelsa Oil Company Limited to reacquire the marginal oil field.
The oil field was excluded completely from those put for bidding during the last exercise.
Diri who spoke on the oil mining licence issue at the weekly Executive Council Meeting at the Government House, Yenagoa, said the State government was sentimentally attached to the oil field.
“The oil field remains a prized asset of the state to which we are sentimentally attached.
“We call on the Federal Government to direct the DPR to reconsider its decision on the matter.
“The DPR, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva, should consider returning the oil field to Bayelsa State.
“There has been this issue of the Bayelsa State-owned Atala Oil Field. We kept a studied silence over the matter, because we needed to have all the information that led to the revocation of the licence of our state-owned asset.
“Part of what we have done recently was to state the position of the Bayelsa State Government clearly to the President.
“Our position on Atala Oil Field is that it is a prized asset of Bayelsa State and that revocation should be cancelled.
“Bayelsa State Government might not have the financial capacity, or the technical know-how to develop it, but the government is ready to partner with financial and technical experts to ensure the field goes into full production as soon as possible,” he said.(NAN)