The Federal Government, yesterday, revoked the operating license granted Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, for Oil Mining Lease 11, in Ogoni land and transferred the operatorship of the assets to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC and its upstream subsidiary, the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, NPDC.
In a letter dated, March 1, 2019, with Reference Number: SH/COS/A/8540 by Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Mr. Abba Kyari, the Presidency directed the NNPC and its upstream subsidiary, NPDC to take over the operatorship of the entire asset. In the letter entitled ‘Operatorship of Entire Oil Mining Lease, OML, 11’ and addressed to the Group Managing Director of NNPC, the Presidency gave the NNPC a deadline of April 30, 2019 to take over operatorship of the asset.
The Presidency disclosed that the decision was to ensure smooth resumption of oil exploration and production activities in Ogoniland, going by the delicate situation in the community. The letter read: “Kindly note that the President has directed NNPC/NPDC to take over the operatorship, from SPDC, of the entire OML 11 not later than April 30, 2019 and ensure smooth re-entry, given the delicate situation in Ogoniland.
“Directed NNPC/NPDC to confirm by May 2, 2019 of the assumption of the operatorship. Please accept the assurances of my highest regards.”
The NNPC currently holds 55 per cent in OML 11, while Shell, Total and Eni hold 30 per cent, 10 per cent and five per cent respectively. The Ogoni communities in River State, had for more than 24 years, refused to grant access to Shell for crude oil exploration and production following the controversial killing of Ken Saro Wiwa and eight other Ogoni activists, by the administration of late General Sani Abacha.
OML 11 lies in the southeastern Niger Delta and contains 33 oil and gas fields of which eight are producing as at 2017