Crisis rocks Delta community over new oil discovery

By Obas Esiedesa, Abuja

Eight months after the  Nigerian government conducted a bid round for 57 marginal oil fields, civil society group, Policy Alert, has urged the  Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) to disclose, in full, the result of the exercise conducted last year.

The oil bid round was conducted by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) in May 2021 with 160 Nigerian companies shortlisted to acquire 57 marginal oil fields. The DPR said then that it was expecting about 100 million barrels of oil from the fields.

The NUPRC, the successor regulator for the upstream sector, had three weeks ago disclosed that it was working to close out the bid round process.

But Policy Alert, in a statement by the Executive Director, Mr Tijah Bolton-Akpan, called on NUPRC  to be more transparent in its management of the marginal field bid rounds, currently being brought to a close.

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Bolton-Akpan said: “As the  Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC)  moves to close the 2020  marginal field bid rounds, we are concerned over the opacity that has marked the implementation of the round-up until now.

We, therefore, call on the Commission to promptly release to the public the identity of successful awardees, and details of the corresponding fields, fees and signature bonuses collected so far.

“The Government of Nigeria has made serious commitments on anti-corruption and extractive sector transparency at the level of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) and the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI). It is crucial that the bid round is made to conform with these global standards as well as with the transparency and accountability provisions of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021. We are particularly keen on seeing how the Commission will align its work on the bid round with recent contract transparency and beneficial ownership reforms.”

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