Oil and gas experts have said that the House of Representatives lacks the power to reverse oilfields’ award done by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR). The DPR had revoked the licences of 11 marginal field operators for nonperformance, including Dawes Island marginal field located in OPL2006, Okrika, Rivers State. During the last bid round, the Minister of Petroleum Resource, through the DPR, awarded the field to Petralon 54 Limited and its partners.
The DPR justified the revocation of the field licence on the ground that: “Dawes Island marginal field was operated by Euroafric Energy Limited for over 16 years without significant progress to attain full production and failure to submit field development plan for the asset.”
The decision was, however, countered by Eurafric through a petition to the House Committee on Public Petitions. According to reports in some sections of the media, the committee reversed the DPR’s award of Dawes Island marginal field to Petralon 54 Limited and its partners, on the grounds that the action did not comply with the principles of equity and fair principles. It stated that the field should be restored to all the three companies, Eurafric, Tako and Petralon 54 that were originally awarded the licence.
However, commenting on the issue, the immediate past Chairman, Society of Petroleum Engineers, Mr. Joe Nwakwe, said there was a clear distinction between regulation and governance. He called for caution so as not to send a wrong signal to investors because of interference with regulation.
He added: “I have not seen the comment by the House of Representatives, what I suspect is that they may be pointing the DPR attention to the court case over the matter. “But it is clear that the Petroleum Act gives the power to award and revoke oil blocks to the Minister of Petroleum Resources and that power has been delegated to the DPR in this matter.”