Energy Group, NANS Back AGF’s Stance on OPL-245
The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) and Partners for Petroleum/Energy Sector Prosperity Initiative (P-PESPI) have expressed their support to the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, over his recommendations to the President Muhammadu Buhari on OPL-245.
NANS and P-PEPSI- a new advocacy group for Petroleum and Energy made their position known in joint statement on Tuesday in Abuja.
The statement, co-signed by NANS’ President, Mr Chinonso Obasi and Lord Charles Ibiang, PEPSI’s Chairman, said that the flurry of litigations concerning the Oil Prospecting Licence(OPL-245) had become protracted and an embarrassment to Nigeria.
The case involves the 2011 purchase by Eni and Shell of Nigeria of Nigeria’s OPL-245 offshore oilfield – one of Africa’s most valuable oil blocks – for about 1.3 billion dollars.
The two groups, in the statement, said that it was high time litigation on OPL-245 was stopped in order to tap into the economic benefits of the zone.
OPL -245 is located on the southern edge of the Niger Delta, in water depths ranging from 1,700 to 2,000 metres.
The AGF and Minister of Justice, Malami, had in a letter to Buhari, advised that charges against the chief suspects, including his predecessor, Bello Adoke, former petroleum ministers, Diezani Alison-Madueke and Dan Etete, in the alleged Malaby bribery scandal be dropped.
Malami had argued that his examination of the case file showed that there was no significant evidence to prove sharp practices by the accused persons, adding that prosecution of the suspects would portray Nigeria in bad light before foreign investors.
NANS and P-PEPSI said that it was regrettable that with reserve of nine billion barrels of crude oil worth over 500 billion dollar, OPL-245 had been in legal wrangling for over twenty years.
“This should stop; and a way forward or road map should be designed to enable Nigeria to benefit from its prolific assets.
“Nigeria needs huge foreign Investment that can generate employment; OPL 245 is an investment haven.
“We call on the Federal Government to take advantage of the terms of April, 2011 three separate resolution agreements to acquire a major stake in the OPL 245 by converting it to a Production Sharing Contract (PSC) between FGN/NNPC, Shell and ENI/AGIP through Nigerian PSC Mechanism and wish to say that AGF Abubakar Malami’s advice to PMB is in good faith and Patriotic.’’
The groups said that, while researching on the lucrative block, they were appealing to Buhari to allow Agip-ENI to continue developing some parts of the field in OPL -245 particularly the ETAN and Zabazaba fields.
They observed that total investment from AGIP involved in both the Zabazaba and Etan fields which included a power plant, and a new refinery was in excess of 15 billion dollars and could generate thousands of Jobs.
The groups called on AGIP to halt the purported billion dollar contract award to Saipem until certain insider issues were resolved by all parties concerned in the bidding Processes.
P-PESP and NANS, in the statement, said they would embark on more fact finding visits to all stakeholders mentioned– Shell, AGIP, Saipem, Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu , Malami and others for further clarification on some issues of serious concerns.