June 10, 2023

Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva has revealed the Federal Government revoked the licence for the Atala Marginal Oilfield (OML 46) because it was left dormant for many years.

He stated this while speaking in a meeting with stakeholders, chiefs and youths organised by his ministry in conjunction with the state government in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa state capital.

The former Bayelsa state governor said the State government did not utilize the valuable asset with so much economic potential.

Recall that the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), had revoked 11 of the 13 marginal oilfields licences it issued to indigenous oil companies in April 2020, and that affected Atala oilfield owned by the Bayelsa government.

However, the Bayelsa state government announced it was pursuing revalidation of OML 46 licence in December 2020.

According to Timipre, Bayelsa held OML 46 since 2003 and also secured the renewal of the licence after it expired but no benefits accrued to the state from the investment throughout the period.

“Atala oilfield is an important investment that the Bayelsa State government had. This marginal oilfield was given to the state government in 2003 and I was instrumental to the allocation of the oilfield one way or another.

“This asset was in the hands of the state government for 17 years. A few months ago when this asset was revoked, I asked myself: how many Bayelsa people lost their jobs as a result of this revocation?

“I wanted people to count the number of people that have lost their jobs because of Atala being revoked. Let us face it. We had our issues, but it’s not as if the asset will not come back to Bayelsa.

“But, we must put our acts together and ensure that this asset benefits us because we cannot have a marginal field that is not of any benefit to us for 17 years. The life span of the asset, 10 years, expired a long time ago, you went for renewal and it was extended for you, and even that extension has expired.

“How many Bayelsans lost their jobs as a result of the revocation? Not many projects suffered because of revocation. That tells you the value of this asset to Bayelsa at the time of revocation because if an asset is valuable to the state, then it would mean that we will see a lot of jobs being lost, a lot of opportunities gone as a result of the revocation, but we didn’t have that,” the minister said.

He urged Bayelsa stakeholders to chart a way forward for the growth and development of the state, irrespective of political affiliations, saying the collective interest of the state was bigger than the interest of any individual or group of persons.

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