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By Obas Esiedesa, Abuja

New owners of the 57 marginal oil fields sold by the Federal Government have called on International Oil Companies, IOCs, to give them access to existing pipelines to evacuate their crude to export terminals. 

The indigenous companies which were issued with Petroleum Prospecting Lincences, PPLs, on Tuesday, praised the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, NUPRC, for the transparent process that began in 2020.

Speaking to journalists in Abuja, the CEO of Matrix Energy Exploration and Production Company Limited,  Mr.  Abdulkabir Aliu promised to deploy its vast experience in the downstream sector of the petroleum industry to add value to its operations in the upstream industry.

Matrix Energy, along with its partners, were awarded two licenses to explore and develop the Atamba oil field located in oil mining lease (OML) 42 and Igbomotoru oil field in OML 33 in the Niger Delta region.

Aliu pointed out that as a company that operates extensively in the downstream sector, “the ultimate aim of anybody in the downstream sector is to progress to the upstream. The upstream is more challenging but with more opportunities. In upstream you also have a bigger opportunity to contribute to the growth and development of the country.

“Nigeria is known as an oil producing country and it is best for us to take advantage of what the oil price is currently doing. We are very satisfied with the entire process since it started in 2020”, he added.  

On the next line of action, the Matrix Energy Chief said the presentation of the company with the prospecting license marked the beginning of the journey to first oil.

 “With three years given to the licensees to complete exploration work on the prospecting side of the license before going to mining and development, we will do our best to ensure we bring value to the license as soon as possible,” he said.

Also speaking, former Chairman of Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria, PETAN, Mr Bank-Anthony Okoroafor, said the process was the most transparent since marginal fields award started.

He noted that it was the first time that “licenses were being given to the awardees and then for the awardees to go and form SPVS (special purpose vehicles). What this means is that issue of forced marriage has been resolved and so the SPVs become a contractor to the awardees.

“In that way, all the awardees will pull that strength to make sure they get to first oil. But the most important thing is for the IOCs to cooperate with the awardees in giving them access for evacuation of crude if that makes optimum sense”, he added.

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