FG to revoke 97 idle marginal fields

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Heineken Lokpobiri

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Heineken Lokpobiri, has said the Federal Government will cancel about 97 marginal field awards, due to the awardees’ inability to begin crude oil production activities on the fields since they won the awards.

Lokpobiri, who disclosed this at an event in Abuja, said the fields would be re-awarded to competent investors with the capacity to begin production on the assets.

He said, “In addition to all the efforts we are making to create the best investment climate for the International Oil Companies and independent producers to increase their production, one key thing that we need to put our minds to, is to actually give access to those who have capacity.

“A few years ago, we did marginal field allocation, and almost 100 marginal fields (awards) were given, but only three, as I’m speaking to you today, are producing. The three years given to them are almost over. They will shout my name, but I’m going to cancel them.

“Look, if you are given a marginal field, it is not for you to take it as a souvenir and keep it in your study. It doesn’t add any value to you or to our country. If today those marginal fields were producing, we would have been able to get sufficient feedstock for our modular refineries and also increase our total production quota. But everybody is interested in getting marginal fields without having the capacity, both financially and technically to be able to put the assets to use.”

The minister declared in an audio clip that was made available to our correspondent by his media aide in Abuja.

In June 2021, the Federal Government, through the defunct Department of Petroleum Resources, issued letters of award to investors who emerged successful in the marginal field bid round that was launched a year earlier.

The defunct DPR, had announced on June 1, 2020, the start of the 2020 Marginal Field Bid Round, with 57 fields available for indigenous companies and investors interested in participating in the exploration and production business in Nigeria.

Some of the companies that were called upon to receive their award letters at the time included A.A. Rano Nigeria Limited, Dutchess Energy, Emadeb Energy Services Limited, Matrix Energy Limited, Shafa Exploration and Production Company Limited, Casiva Limited, Duport Midstream Company Limited, and Vhelbherg Exploration and Production Development Company Limited.

In January 2022, the government revealed that a total of 128 awardees emerged as successful bidders in the 2020 Marginal Field Bid Round, adding that they had made complete and part payments for signature bonuses in the oil fields.