The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) yesterday handed over operatorship of Oil Mining Licence (OML) 98 to the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, the upstream unit of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
The transfer of the asset to NPDC was sequel to the revocation of the licence from Pan Ocean Oil Corporation in 2019 over legacy debts.
Speaking at the handover ceremony in Abuja, the Director/CEO of DPR, Sarki Auwalu, said the decision to take over the asset from Pan Ocean was in the best interest of Nigeria.
He said the asset was revoked due to the inability of the operating company to meet its obligation to government.
He expressed hope that every other issue involving the revocation would be resolved amicably among the joint venture partners.
He warned the NPDC, the new operator of the oil block, against defaulting on the asset.
Speaking on behalf of the MD NPDC, the General Manager Exploration and Production, Mr. Ferdinand Bariwei, said NPDC would effectively develop and manage the oil field as well as pay all royalties and profits due to the government and shareholders.
He expressed hope that all the issues raised by the DPR would be resolved amicably.
The DPR had last year revoked five OMLs and one Oil Prospecting Licence (OPL) belonging to companies operating the licences.
The regulatory body, in a public notice said the revocation was based on a presidential directive to “recover legacy debts” owed by the companies operating the licences.
OML 98 is located in the northern fringe of the Niger Delta Basin and covers an area of 523 km² in Edo and Delta states.