The Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has resumed crude oil production in the Ogoni region after an Appeal Court judgment affirmed its operatorship of the Oil Mining License 11 (OML 11).
This came after more than 30 years of a legal tussle with Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) over the entitlement to a renewal of the Lease on OML 11.
The Federal High Court, Abuja had on August 23, 2019, held that the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) was entitled to the renewal of the Lease on OML 11.
The NNPC thereafter went to an Appeal Court to challenge the ruling.
But the Appellate Court in Abuja on Monday held that the Minister of 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 NNPC.
Friday, a statement by the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division of the NNPC, Garba Deen Muhammad, quoted the NNPC Group Managing Director, Malam Mele Kyari, as saying that the ruling had 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, he said the 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.
“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,” Malam Kyari stated.
The statement further stated that the NPDC has taken over the assets and operations are in full gear.
It added 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 would pursue the 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.
The statement noted that the environment would be a top priority for NPDC’s operations, as well as the implementation of a robust host community engagement strategy to address subsisting issues while agreeing to a transparent engagement model going forward.
The NNPC cautioned against any further legal challenge by the SPDC, stressing that it was about time Nigeria derived the benefit of the OML11 after over three decades.