By Vincent Kalu
Promoters of Bayelsa Oil Company Limited alongside its Joint Ventures Partners, Hardy Oil Nigeria Limited and Century Exploration/ Production Limited, have appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene in their effort to restore Alata Oil Field in (OML 46) belonging to them.
This came after reports said Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) awarded the field to Halkin Exploration and Production Limited without knowledge of the true facts surrounding the development of the Field by the Joint Venture Partners.
In a press statement signed by the management of Bayelsa Oil Company Ltd, and its Joint Venture Partners, debunked newspapers publications that the said oil field was awarded to Halkin Exploration and Production Ltd on grounds of its investment in reviving the Field and transfer of 41 per cent interest of BOCL in the Field to Halkin Exploration and Production Ltd.
The statement said “We restate that the Joint Venture Partners of BOCL – Hardy Oil Nigeria Limited and Century Exploration and Production Limited are indigenous companies owned by Nigerian entrepreneurs through 20 percent and 29 per cent stakes, respectively, in the said Marginal Field with a State Enterprise-Bayelsa Oil Company Limited (a company wholly owned by the Bayelsa State Government) as Operator, holding a controlling 51 per cent stake on behalf of the Bayelsa State Government.
The JV Partners further stressed that: “It is pertinent to state here that Atala Marginal Oil field (OML 46) has been developed, crude oil produced and sold from the same field at different stages of test crude production. Royalties on crude oil sold from the field had been paid to the Federal Government severally before the field was revoked under very strange and suspicious circumstances.
“At present, the Joint Venture Partners have invested massively in bringing the Field into production of Test Crude preparatory to commencement of commercial production. The revocation of the asset has put into jeopardy the entire efforts and resources pumped into the development of the Field by the JV Partners. Most of these funds were secured through loans from banks in respect of which Atala Field (OML 46) Joint Venture Partners are still repaying with huge interest.
It was against the significant milestones achieved regarding the joint operations at the Alata oil field that full Production Permit was awarded to them by DPR in August, 2018.”
The statement further added: “Currently, there are about 20,700 barrels of unevaluated crude oil at Atala Field. Consequently, Atala JV Partners executed Crude Handling Agreement (CHA) with Excel Exploration and Production Limited to handle Atala crude, as well as use their pipeline for transporting Atala crude to Shell Petroleum Trans Forcados pipeline. BOCL had also executed Sales and Purchase Agreement with Shell Trading Company in respect of the remaining crude oil at Atalalocation.eld Development Plan (FDP) was submitted to DPR in 2017 and there are ongoing reviews in relation to drilling Atala wells 2, 3, & 4.
“With Several Community Development Projects executed across the Host Communities, Royalties and NDA made to date is estimated at $160, 545.18, while logistics support base in Kidney Island, Port Harcourt and Warri., are being consistent paid National Data Registry Fees.
“The above stated milestones clearly and unequivocally support our position that the revocation of the Atala Marginal Field by DPR was in error and consequently compelled us to, in league with the other ten revoked Marginal Field Operators, to write to Mr. President for a review of the revocation. We understand that the letter was given sympathetic consideration by Mr. President, who remarked, ‘the ten (10) revoked marginal fields be re awarded on discretionary basis to qualified companies with consideration given to the previous operators of the respective fields subject to the demonstration technical/financial capacity and payment of applicable good and valuable consideration (GVC).”
Already, the JV Partners have denied any investment into the development of the field or revival of the field by Halkin and challenged it to prove its claims of having spent $60,000,000 in reviving the oil field and the purported Farm -in Agreement with its conveying of the transfer of 41 per cent of BOCL equity, which it presented to secure the award of the Field in its favour.
The JV Partners there maintained that: “These alleged claims by Halkin in the Atala Marginal Field is therefore spurious, fraudulent, deceitful and an attempt by the desperate Company and its faceless sponsors, who will soon be unmasked in the fullness of time, to hijack benefits arising from the sweat and hard work of the Atala JV Partners.”