By Juliet Ukanwosu
The Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has cautioned against any further legal challenge by the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) on Oil Mining License (OML) 11, stressing that it was about time Nigeria derived the benefit of the oil block after over three decades.
Hailing the recent Appeal Court judgment affirming its operatorship of OML 11, the corporation described it as a huge victory for Nigeria and the beginning of addressing decades of host community restiveness.
“It is time to roll back the decades of despair and destruction with the emphatic Appeal Court ruling. It is time to unlock opportunities for economic development in the region.
“In the light of their inability to work on the Ogoni region of the block for over 30 years and the new beginning this judgment presents, further legal action by Shell will not only be futile, it would be depriving Nigeria of an opportunity to make meaningful gains from OML 11 when the nation needs all the revenue it can get to move Nigeria forward,” the NNPC said in a statement.
Extractive 360 reports that an Appeal Court sitting in Abuja on Monday, upturned the August 23, 2019, ruling of the Federal High Court, Abuja which held that the SPDC was entitled to the renewal of the Lease on OML 11.
In the ruling, the Appellate Court held that the Minister of Petroleum Resources has the discretion whether or not to renew the OML 11 Lease in favor of SPDC. The Court further held that the Minister rightly exercised his discretion in awarding the OML 11 Lease to NPDC, a subsidiary of the NNPC.
In a statement issued by the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division of the NNPC, Garba Deen Muhammad, the NNPC Group Managing Director, Mr. Mele Kyari, said that the ruling has paved the way for the NPDC to lead a formidable OML 11 team towards bolstering productivity in a responsible, efficient, environmentally friendly, and sustainable manner.
Accordingly, resumption of operations on OML 11 will demonstrate the NPDC’s full commitment to develop and add value to its communities and the nation as a whole, Kyari said.
“We now have an opportunity to reconstruct a new beginning on OML 11, driven by global best practices and a social contract that would put the people and environment of the Niger Delta above pecuniary considerations.
“This is a huge victory for the government and people of Nigeria as we now have the impetus to responsibly unlock the oil and gas reserves the block offers for the benefit of all Nigerians,” Kyari stated.
The statement further stated that the NPDC has taken over the assets and operations are in full gear, adding that the company is working closely with all stakeholders and partners to achieve the new vision of “responsible, smart engineering and environmental sustainability,” that the Federal Government has endorsed for OML 11.
The NNPC GMD stated that the NPDC will pursue promotion of clean energy via its gas production with prospects of gas-to-power initiatives to “light up opportunities in the region,” and provide the much deserved industrialization.