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Oil licenses renewal: DPR, Ministry explain positions

The Department of Petroleum Resources and the Ministry of Petroleum Resources have denied allegations that there are irregularities in its renewal of oil and gas licenses.

The DPR and the Petroleum Ministry were reacting to the decision of the House of Representatives to probe the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, over alleged irregularities in the ongoing oil and gas lease renewal process.

The DPR and the ministry, in a joint statement on Friday, said: “The accelerated early lease renewal programme is a process ingeniously developed to expand and speed up earning potential from the renewal programme for the government and to create security of title to leaseholders to allow them to continue the massive investments needed to improve production from their fields.

“The programme is hinged on the provisions of the Petroleum Act LFN 2004, which mandates the holder of an Oil Mining Lease to apply for a renewal of the lease at least one year to expiration and this has enabled the receipt, processing and approval of 22 OMLs, which has resulted in payment of renewal bonuses in excess of $1bn.”

The statement further explained that the lease renewal process starts with an application to the DPR from the leaseholder and subjected to rigorous statutory regulatory process before transmission to the Minister of State for review and a recommendation to the President for final approval.

It said, “The Department of Petroleum Resources and the Ministry of Petroleum Resources are looking forward to the advertised invitation from the House of Representatives and as always, we will be available to clarify any misunderstanding the House may have on the renewed leases as part of normal oversight functions of the House”.