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NUPRC: We’re considering revoking unused OPLs

NUPRC: We’re considering revoking unused OPLs
December 05
13:05 2023

The Nigerian Upstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) says it is considering revoking companies’ unused oil prospecting leases (OPLs).

Speaking to Reuters on Monday, Gbenga Komolafe, chief executive officer (CEO) of NUPRC, said the companies that have been awarded licences but have not been able to carry out any exploring activities would be affected.

“Based on PIA (Petroleum Industry Act), the commission is focused on delivering value for the nation so only firms that are technically and financially viable will keep their leases,” Komolafe said.

Komolafe said the commission will initiate reviews of these leases and awards of new leases would be “subject to specific terms and conditions”. 

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According to data from the oil regulator, the government issued 53 exploration leases, but 33 — including four which are held down by contract disputes — have since expired and are not renewed. 

In essence, the regulator said, 60 percent of the prospecting licenses issued to local and international oil firms had expired. 

Some of the expired leases belong to Total Exploration and Production Company, Oando Energy, Sahara Energy Exploration and Production Company, and Oranto Petroleum Limited. 

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On November 5, Heineken Lokpobiri, minister of state for petroleum resources (oil), said the licences of modular refineries not in use will be cancelled.

He added that the companies must desist from using the licences as mere ‘souvenirs’.

Recently, the federal government withdrew its $1.1 billion civil suit against Eni in relation to OPL 245 deal.

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