Nigeria: Atala’s OML46 – Senate Asks NUPRC to Reallocate Licence to Hardy Oil, Others

The Senate yesterday faulted the revocation of Atala Marginal Oil Field (OML 46) in February 2020, by the defunct Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), now Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC).

It consequently ordered the commission to reallocate the oil field to its original owners as earlier directed by the Presidency.

The Senate’s resolutions were sequel to recommendations made to that effect by its committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions.

The Senator Ayo Akinyelure-led committee had on the mandate given by the Senate investigated petitions forwarded to it by Daniel Chukwudozie on behalf of Hardy Oil Nigeria Limited , Bayelsa Oil Company Limited ( BOCL) and Century Exploration and Production Limited ( CEPL) against NUPRC for alleged illegal and fraudulent revocation of Atala Marginal Field ( OML 46) and its re award to Halkin Exploration and Production Limited.

They noted that the award of the oil field to Halkins as stated in the petition was in breach of due process and presidential directive.

The committee after several months of interface with all the interested parties on the oil field, recommended to the Senate that it should be reallocated to the original owners who were Hardy Oil Nigeria Limited, Bayelsa Oil Company Limited and Century Exploration and Production Limited.

The adopted recommendation of the committee by the Senate read: “That since the revocation of the Atala Marginal Field (OML 46) was based on misleading information supplied by Halkin Exploration and Production Limited.

“Since the NUPRC was unable to produce written evidence that President Muhammadu Buhari actually reversed his initial directive on consideration of owners/operators of Atala Marginal Field for re – award as claimed by NUPRC, the committee strongly recommends that the oil field be returned to its original owners/operators.

“This recommendation is in line with the presidential directive which was applied in returning the nine marginal fields to their original owners/operators.”

Before the Senate’s resolutions, President Muhammadu Buhari had in October 2022, ordered the NUPRC to reallocate the oil fields to the original owners since Halkins was not even a registered company when Hardy Oil Nigeria Limited, Bayelsa Oil Company Limited and Century Exploration and Production Limited, developed the oil field from 2014 to 2018 and acquired licence for its exploration .

Halkin Exploration and Production Limited as clearly stated in the petition and listed in the records of Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), became an incorporated company on September 9, 2019.

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