Chibisi Ohakah, Abuja
There are indications that cancellation by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) of the proposed plan by the Pan Ocean Oil Corporation to unveil three oil and gas projects scheduled yesterday (Monday, June 10, 2019) may not be unrelated to the discovery that two of these three assets are located in an acreage (OML 98) whose licence had been revoked by the Federal Government.
All was set yesterday in Benin, Edo state for the unveilings when an order was said to have been issued by the industry regulatory agency, the DPR, to suspend the plan. The plan, it was gathered, was to unveil the NNPC/Pan Ocean Ovade-Ogharefe Gas Processing Plant Phases I & II; the Oil Mining Lease (OML) 147 Early Production Facility (Flow Station) at Owa-Alidinma, Delta state and the Amukpe-Escravos Pipeline, a 67-kilometre crude oil export facility.
“The so-called unveiling of the projects is illegal”, sources at the DPR reportedly told Africa Oil+Gas Report. Construction of the Amukpe-Escravos Pipeline was embarked upon by Pan Ocean, primarily to export crude oil from OML 98, but the company’s rights to crude production on that acreage had been revoked since April 2019. As of June 10, 2019, Pan Ocean is deemed to have lost the right to those crudes.
The implication, it was further gathered, is that the company no longer has the permission of the federal government of Nigeria to operate the Ovade-Ogharefe Gas Processing Plant Phases I & II. In a release, Pan Ocean’s public relations advisers had declared that the company wanted, by the unveiling, “to communicate Pan Ocean Oil Corporation as a company that has kept its word by delivering these three projects which have the capacity to create hundreds of jobs, lift local communities and contribute immensely to power supply and the Nigerian economy”.
Pan Ocean’s licence to OML 98 was revoked as a result of its negligence in paying royalty to the government on the licence. DPR officials said that only President Muhammadu Buhari can decide to undo the revocation, even when the company pays up what it owes.