The Federal Government of Nigeria has approved the take-over of OML (Oil Mining Lease) 46, also known as Atala Oilfield, a revoked asset hitherto owned by the Bayelsa state government, by its new owners, Halkin Exploration and Production Limited.
Mr. Sarki Auwalu, Director/CEO of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) conveyed the President’s consent, with reference number PRES/88/MPR/72, to assign the Atala Marginal Oilfield (OML 46) for the take-over to the honourable Minister of Petroleum, Mr Timipre Sylva.
Recall that the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) had announced the revocation of eleven of the thirteen marginal field licenses issued to some indigenous oil firms because most of the fields, including Atala, remained inactive.
Consequently, the President approved that the oilfields be re-awarded to qualified companies, with preference to the previous operators of the respective oilfields but subject to demonstration of both technical and financial capacity and payment of applicable Good and Valuable Consideration.
Mr Auwalu disclosed that DPR’s assessment of Halkin revealed that the company has the capacity to immediately bring the field to production and progress, including drilling of more wells and production utilization of the field’s gas resources. Therefore, it is DPR’s considered opinion that the asset be re-awarded to Halkin Exploration and Production Limited.
The Bayelsa State Government, while reacting to the development, said it would challenge the federal government’s decision to revoke the fields.
Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, while noting that his government hold forty per cent equity in the oil block along with other investors who operate the field, said he would push for reversal of the take-over, as consultations were on-going to correct what he described as an error.