The Nigeria Petroleum Development Company, a subsidiary of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), has resumed oil production at Oil Mining License 11 (OML 11).
The development followed the recent Court of Appeal’s verdict which upturned the August 23, 2019 ruling of the Federal High Court which held that the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) was entitled to renew the lease on OML 11.
In its ruling on Monday, the 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 the NPDC.
The ruling ends 30 years of suspension of exploration activities on the oil bloc located in the Ogoni area of Niger Delta.
A statement issued by the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division of the NNPC, Garba Deen Muhammad, quoted the NNPC Group Managing Director, Mallam Mele Kyari, as saying that the ruling has paved the way for the NPDC to lead a formidable OML 11 team to bolster productivity in a responsible, efficient, environmentally friendly, and sustainable manner.
He said: “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.
“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.”
The NNPC chief cautioned against any further legal challenge by the SPDC, saying it was about time Nigeria derived the benefit of the OML 11 after over three decades.
Kyari added: “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, but it would also 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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