President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation to take over the operatorship of the entire Oil Mining Lease 11 from Shell Petroleum Development Company.
According to a letter from State House, Abuja, to the Group Managing Director of NNPC, dated March 1, 2019, with reference number SH/COS/24/A/8540 and signed by the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, the President’s directive was clearly stated that the entire operatorship of OML 11 should be taken over by the NNPC/Nigeria Petroleum Development Company not later than April 30, 2019.
NPDC is the flagship oil exploration and production subsidiary of the NNPC and the liaison office of the company acknowledged receipt of the letter on March 5, 2019.
The letter from the Presidency to the NNPC, which had its title as, ‘Operatorship of Entire Oil Mining Lease 11,’ read in part, “Kindly note that the President has directed NNPC/NPDC to take over the operatorship, from Shell Petroleum Development Company, of the entire OML 11 not later than 30 April 2019, and ensure smooth re-entry given the delicate situation in Ogoniland.”
It added that the President has “directed NNPC/NPDC to confirm by 2 May 2019, of the assumption of the operatorship.”
OML 11 lies in the southeastern Niger Delta and contains 33 oil and gas fields of which eight are producing as per 2017. In terms of production, it is one of the most important blocks in Nigeria.
The terrain is swampy to the south with numerous rivers and creeks. Port Harcourt is located in the northwest of the block, while the major yard and logistics base at Onne is located by the Bonny River. The Bonny oil terminal – the largest in Nigeria – and Nigeria LNG (NLNG) are both located at Bonny.
When contacted, the Media Relations Manager, Shell Nigeria, Bamidele Odugbesan, declined to comment on the matter, as he specifically told our correspondent that he would not speak on the issue.