According to a new report, The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has denied the claims by the Nigerian exploration and production (E & P) operators that the federal government lost an estimated $6 billion as a result of its poor administration of the licenses of the oil blocks sold by the international oil companies (IOCs) between 2010 and 2015.
Citing the position of the Nigerian E & P operators, THISDAY had reported that the federal government lost an estimated $6 billion as a result of the agency’s poor handling of the expiring oil blocks, which were sold by the IOCs.
Speaking in Lagos recently at the maiden edition of the Aspen Energy Roundtable, the operators had argued that the IOCs short-changed the federal government when they smiled home with over $10 billion for oil blocks, which were about to expire and be relinquished to the federal government.
They had also noted that the IOCs paid only very little amount as signature bonus for the oil blocks and had recouped their investments after over 20 years of operatorship.
The Head of Upstream Monitoring and Regulation at DPR, Pat Maseli, had also admitted that the regulatory agency was not prepared for the divestment programme from the outset, as the exercise came as a “shock” to the agency.
But in swift response, DPR said in a statement yesterday that it did not at any time cause the federal government to lose any $6billion in divestment of oil blocks.
According to the statement, DPR is not involved in the tendering process for divestment of assets held by the IOCs or any other company and only requests for a premium from such transaction that is due to the federal government, which is determined by the Minister of Petroleum Resources pursuant to Paragraphs 14-16 of the First Schedule to the Petroleum Act, 1969.
The agency further clarified that it has over the years provided effective regulatory oversight for the oil and gas industry in Nigeria and pursuant to this,issued in August 2014 “Guidelines and Procedures for obtaining minister’s consent to the Assignment of Interest in oil and gas assets.”