NPDC resumes operations with OML 11 following court judgement

*The favourable court judgment 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 Nigerian consumers ─ Malam Mele Kyari, Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has welcomed the recent Appeal Court judgment affirming its operatorship of the Oil Mining Licence 11 (OML 11).

The state oil firm has described the judgement as a huge victory for Nigeria and the beginning of addressing decades of host communities’ restiveness in the country.

Malam Mele Kyari, Group Managing Director of NNPC

The Appeal Court sitting Monday, August 16, in Abuja, FCT, had upturned the August 23, 2019, ruling of the Federal High Court Abuja, which held that the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) was entitled to the renewal of the Lease on OML 11.

However, in the ruling, the Appellate Court held that the Honourable Minister for Petroleum Resources has the discretion whether or not to renew the OML 11 Lease in favour 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.

Mr. Garba Deen Muhammad, Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division of NNPC, quoted Malam Mele Kyari, Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Corporation, as saying 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.

The statement noted the resumption of operations on OML 11 will demonstrate the NPDC’s full commitment to developing and adding value to its communities and the country as a whole.

Malam Kyari stated: “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.”

Muhammad further stated that the NPDC has taken over the assets, and operations are in full gear.

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 statement said.

According to NNPC GMD, 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 of the Nigerian economy.

Kyari also stated that the environment will be a top priority for NPDC’s operations, as well as implementation of a robust host community engagement strategy to address subsisting issues, while agreeing to a transparent engagement model going forward.

The NNPC, however, cautioned against any further legal challenge by the SPDC, as it stressed that it is about time Nigeria derived the benefit of the OML 11 after over three decades.

“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 judgement 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,” added the GMD.

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