OML 46 Illegally Reawarded To Halkin Company Limited In Breach Of Buhari’s Directive

By Chris Udochukwu

Abuja (Precise Post) – Senate on Tuesday said that the OML 46 was illegally awarded to Halkin Exploration and Production Company Limited in contravention of President Buhari’s directives.

The Senate Committee on Ethics and Public Petition while interfacing with the groups involved at a public hearing reminded that after the revocation of the oil field, Mr President intervened, considered the numerous petitions from the JV owners and directed that the field be returned to the Atala Oil field owners with preference to the Marginal trade owners.

Recall that the public hearing followed a petition brought before the senate on Tuesday, 5th October 2021, by Sam Daniel Chukwudi on behalf of Hardy Oil Nigeria Limited against the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) for alleged breach of trust, corruption and illegal revocation of OML 46 and re-awarding same to Halkin Exploration and Production Company Limited without due process.

During the public hearing which was the third in the series, the representative of Hardy Oil Nigeria Limited adopted it’s presentation made on Sept 2021in addition to some annextures of documents which he submitted to the committee as their complaints which is before this committee. He said that the subject matter of the petition bothered on the OML46 – Atala Marginal Oil Field and the improper way and manner in which the field that were formerly managed by the trio of Bayelsa Oil Company Limited (BOCL), Hardy Oil Nigeria Limited and Century Exploration and Production were revoked from them and handed over to a company in a very shady and fraudulent circumstances.

Debunking the allegation that there was an investment of $60million and acquisition of 41 percent by Halkin Exploration and Production Company Limited, Hardy Oil Nigeria Limited said: “The allocation of the field to Halkin Exploration and Production Company Limited was done and secured under fraudulent circumstances. We have availed the minutes of the Memo written to the Honorable Minister of Petroleum Resources whereby the defunct Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) stated that the field was allocated to Halkin Exploration and Production Company Limited for two principal reasons namely;

  • that Halkin Exploration and Production Company Limited claimed to have invested $60m to the Atala Marginal Oil Field and second was the alleged acquisition of 41% share of Bayelsa Oil Company Limited shares in the Atala Marginal Oil Field. BOCL owned 51% in the Atala Marginal Field and Halkin Exploration and Production Company Limited
    claimed to have acquired 41% of the 51% share thereby making it the largest partner owner of the field.

“We categorically state before this Committee that the award which was predicated on the two reasons by the defunct DPR was false. Halkin Exploration and Production Company Limited is an unknown entity to the former Atala Marginal owner. They did not invest any $60m in the field, they were never a joint venture partner and for Halkin Exploration and Production Company Limited to have secured OML 46 was under false pretense. He also informed the Committee that the man who presented himself as the MD of of Halkin Exploration and Production Company Limited
was the immediate past MD of Bayelsa Oil Company Limited as at the time the field was given to Hakin. Which means that he was on one leg the MD of BOCL and on another leg the MD of Hakin. So it is not impossible that he may have used his position as the MD of BOCL to alter documents to the benefits of Hakin. And we believe that these are clearly wrong procedures, he submitted.

While emphasizing that the rawarding of OML46 was under false pretense and to an unknown entity he called the attention of the Committee to the fact that the Atala Marginal Field was developed between 2014 to 2018 by the trio of BOCL, Hardy Oil Nigeria Limited and Century Exploration and Production Ltd whereas Halkin Exploration and Production Company Limited which claimed to have invested $60m in the Atala Marginal Oil Field was incorporated sometime on 29th September 2019 long after the field has been developed by the parties.

He further reminded the Committee that as the original owner of the Oil field, the trio of BOCL, Hardy Oil Nigeria Limited and Century Exploration and Production Ltd have been producing and paying royalties to the account of the federal government of Nigeria and that as at the time the field was purportedly revoked, the JV-partners have an outstanding 20,700 barrel of crude on the site.

He therefore requested that senate should look into the matter and urge Nigeria Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) to immediately reinstate Atala Marginal Oil Field OML 46 to the joint venture that own the oil field.

When he was called to react to the allegations made against him and his company, the MD of Halkin Exploration and Production Company Limited who could not put up a defence, fained to be sick and urged the Committee to give him two weeks extension to come up with his defence to the weighty allegation.

The Senate Committee called on the DPR to interface with the groups involved and look into the matter critically and report back to them in two weeks. The Committee Chairman directed the MD of Halkin Exploration and Production Company Limited to provide documented evidence of how the shared was acquired and evidence of the $60million investment if actually such were made.

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