Buhari bears fang, revoke Shells Operating Licence



President Muhammadu Buhari has revoked the operating licence granted the oil giant for Oil Mining Lease (OML) 11, located in Ogoniland.

It was learnt that the revocation of the operating licence of Shell by the president was in line with the Joint Operating Agreement (JOA) signed by the joint venture partners, which empowers the NNPC to assume operatorship of the JV assets in the event that Shell relinquishes the operatorship.

National Daily gathered that OML 11 which contains 33 oil block and gas fields, including Bodo, Bodo West and Yorla fields was handed over to Shell after the execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa by the military regime of late Gen. Sani Abacha, and is expected toexpire in 2019.

According to a reliable presidency source, a letter dated, March 1, 2019, with Reference Number: SH/COS/A/8540, signed by Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Malam Abba Kyari, to the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, said the president had directed the corporation and its upstream subsidiary, the NPDC, to take over the operatorship of the entire asset.

Following the execution of the environmental activist, the Ogoni people, who had sacked Shell from Ogoni since 1993, also denied the oil giant access to the oil blocks.

According to him, Shell had in 2018 applied for the renewal of the licence for another 20 years but the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) proposed to split the acreage into three because of its large size.

He also stated that Shell was also discussing with potential investors to sell its stake in the oil block as part of its divestment programme.

“OML 11 was actually under a divestment programme. Shell was talking with a Nigerian company to acquire its stake since the Ogoni people have vowed that they would not allow the company into their land. Shell has been refused access to the oil block by the communities for upwards of 26 years,” the official said.

Also, the most important petroleum legislation in Nigeria, the Petroleum Act of 1969 (as amended), empowers the Minister of Petroleum to grant or revoke the exploration, prospecting and production rights of the operating companies.