Rivers, Shell Tango Over Ownership Of Oil Block
The Rivers State Government and Shell Petroleum Development Company are on a collision course over the ownership of Oil Mining Lease 11 and the Kidney Island in Port Harcourt, the state capital.
The state government said on Wednesday that it secured the enforcement of its interest in the acquisition of 45 per cent equity stake in OML 11 and Kidney Island.
But SPDC, in a swift reaction, dismissed the purported takeover of Kidney Island asset by the Rivers State Government, describing such move as premature, saying the matter “is still the subject of ongoing appeals at the Appeal Court in Port Harcourt.”
According to a statement by the Special Assistant on Media to the State Governor, Kelvin Ebiri, in Port Harcourt, Kidney Island, which was once used as SPDC operational base in Port Harcourt, now belongs to the Rivers State Government pursuant to a certificate of purchase registered in the Lands Registry as No. 6 at page 6 in Vol. 46.
It said the certificate of purchase was issued by the order of the High Court of Rivers State on July 23, 2019 and September 25, 2019 following the purchase of the facility.
The Supreme Court had on November 2020 reaffirmed Rivers State Government acquisition of SPDC’s interest in OML 11 and Kidney Island when it dismissed the oil firm’s suit, which sought to set aside the judgment made against it in 2019 in favour of Ejama-Ebubu community.
The Rivers State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof. Zaccheus Adangor, SAN made this known on Wednesday while addressing journalists after sealing off Kidney Island in execution of the judgment of Rivers State High Court.
The statement read, “You will recall that sometime in 2017, the people of Ejama-Ebubu secured judgment against SPDC and its subsidiaries in the sum of N57.7bn for the damages done to their environment arising from the oil spill from the Trans-Niger pipeline.
“After that judgment, Shell refused to pay the judgment sum and thereafter proceeded to levy execution by attaching the moveable properties of SPDC. But those were found to be grossly insufficient to settle the judgment sum.
“Subsequently, they (Ejama-Ebubu community) approached the court to seek the leave of the court to attach the immovable properties of SPDC and the court granted them that order. Following the grant of that order, there was a court order for sell off some of the properties of SPDC including Kidney Island and the acquisition of Shell interest in OML 11.”
Adangor said after the court order, a public auction was held by the officers of the Rivers State Judiciary and the state government bided successfully for the purchase of Kidney Island and Shell’s interest in OML 11.
But the SPDC has dismissed the purported takeover of Kidney Island asset of the SPDC Joint Venture in Port Harcourt by the Rivers State Government in the exercise of rights purportedly acquired through a court auction process.