Return Atala Oil (OML 46) to its owners – NUPRC Senate committee

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Return Atala Oil (OML 46) to its owners – Senate committee to NUPRC


During the investigative hearing last Thursday, October 6, the chairman of the senate committee on ethics, privileges and public petitions, Senator Ayo Akinyelure spoke to Nigerian upstream petroleum regulatory commission (NUPRC) to restore the Atala marginal oilfield (OML 46) of its previous owners.

According to him, Buhari asked the commission to relocate the oilfield to its original owners by 2020, but the commission refused to comply.

The NUPRC and the current owner, Halkin Oil, were not present at the hearing.

Senator Akinyelure said: “We always invite them; they have not been able to go before Nigerians and prove that the allocation of the Atala oilfield to Halkin Oil is justified before the law and before the people.

resolutions

Senator Akinyelure stated that the investigation committee decided that the NUPRC must comply with Buhari’s order or prove that he revoked the said order, to justify their refusal to return the oilfield to the original owners.

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He said: “The position of this particular committee at the last sitting is that we want the NUPRC to give evidence before this committee today, to inform our decision whether to support the position of the NUPRC or not.

It is unheard of anywhere in the world that, when the President gives a presidential order, a civil servant goes ahead and reverses it without written permission from the President.

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“Therefore, we are not convinced by the NUPRC report and we are bold to say that the NUPRC was misinformed in allocating the Atala oilfield to a private limited liability company when Mr. is the owner of 10 oil field,” he said.

“Therefore, this committee decides as follows: that the revocation and allocation of the Atala oilfield is hereby declared null and void; that the Atala oilfield should be returned to its original owner, in accordance with the Presidential Order; that the NUPRC must immediately implement the Presidential Order.

Backstory

In 2003, the Bayelsa state government acquired the marginal field through Bayelsa Oil Company Limited (BOCL). However, in April 2020, the defunct Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) revoked the license.

In 2020, the original owners of the oilfield, BOCL, Hardy Oil Nigeria Limited, and Century Exploration and Production Limited (CEPL), protested against the withdrawal made by the defunct DPR. After this, Buhari ordered the immediate reinstatement of revoked licenses on a discretionary basis to qualified companies.

However, in February 2021, Auwalu Sarki, allegedly on behalf of the minister of state for petroleum resources, Timipre Sylva, awarded the oil field to Halkin Exploration and Production Limited.

During a recent visit by Buhari to the Atala oilfield, the governor of Bayelsa state, Douye Diri said that the oilfield was relocated to Halkin Oil, a private company, based on wrong information given to the relevant authority.

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