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Sunday, December 10, 2023

Oil block row: NNPC warns Shell against another lawsuit



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The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, on Friday, cautioned against any further legal challenge by Shell Petroleum Development Company over Oil Mining Lease 11, saying it is about time Nigeria derived the benefit of the oil block after over three decades.

The NNPC announced that its subsidiary, Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, had resumed operations on OML 11 after a court judgement in its favour.

It said in a statement by its spokesperson, Garba-Deen Muhammad, that a recent Appeal Court judgement affirmed the oil firm’s operatorship of the OML 11.

The statement said, “The Appeal Court sitting in Abuja on Monday upturned the August 23, 2019 ruling of the Federal High Court, Abuja which held that the Shell Petroleum Development Company 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 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 Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation.”

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NNPC’s Group Managing Director, Mele Kyari, said 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.

He said, “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.”

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He noted that resumption of operations on OML 11 would 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,” Kyari said.

The statement said the NPDC had taken over the assets, as operations were in full gear and that the company was working closely with stakeholders and partners on the project.

Kyari said the NPDC would pursue the promotion of clean energy through its gas production with prospects of gas-to-power initiatives to light up opportunities in the region and provide the much-deserved industrialisation.

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