Barely two weeks since the petroleum industry regulator, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) announced the revocation of four oil mining licenses (OMLs) awarded to Addax Petroleum Nigeria Limited (APNL), President Muhammadu Buhari, on Friday ordered the immediate reversal of the revocation order.
The oil assets, namely OMLs 123, 124, 126 and 137 awarded to Addax were supposed to have been operated under a joint operating agreement between the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Chinese National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC).
But in announcing the revocation of the operating rights to the assets, the Director/Chief Executive Officer, DPR, Sarki Auwalu, said thse regulator found out that years after they were awarded to Addax Petroleum as the operator, over 50 percent of the assets remained under-developed.
Auwalu said the non-development of the assets resulted in the loss of huge revenues by the federal government.
“Addax refused to develop the assets. Addax was not operating the assets and therefore unable to comply with the work programme targets,” the director said.
He said the revocation of the oil licenses and re-award had already been approved by the President Muhammadu Buhari, as part of the Federal Government’s efforts to maximize the benefits from its underutilized oil and gas assets.
However, barely a fortnight since the announcement by the DPR, the President, through his spokesperson, Garba Shehu, on Friday, directed a reversal of the revocation order.
In a series of tweets through his official twitter handle, @GarShehu, Shehu said: “In line with the current administration’s commitment to the rule of law, fairness & enabling a stable business climate for investment, President @MBuhari has approved the restoration of the leases on OMLs 123, 124, 126 & 137 to @NNPCgroup, which is in production sharing contract with Addax Petroleum, a company wholly owned by the government of the People’s Republic of China on the blocks.
“The leases belonging to the Federation were revoked on March 30, 2021.
“This development reaffirms the commitment of President Buhari to the rule of law and sanctity of contracts.
“While directing the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to retract the letter of revocation of the leases,
the President also directed NNPC to utilize contractual provisions to resolve issues in line with the extant provisions of the Production Sharing Contract arrangement between NNPC and Addax.”
Shehu said the restoration of the oil blocks to NNPC would boost the organisation’s portfolio, thereby making the Corporation to, in the long run, boost its crude oil production and in turn increase the revenue it generates to the Federation Account.
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