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Court restrains FG from auctioning seven marginal fields

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Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has restrained the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, and the Director, Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) from selling, auctioning or accepting bids for some marginal fields belonging to some oil and gas operators.

The judge said the restraining order will subsist, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit filed by the Marginal Field Operators (MFO) and the Petroleum Minister and others.

The marginal field operators are Associated Oil & Gas Limited, Dansaki Petroleum Limited, operators of Tom Shot Bank Marginal Field, Bayelsa Oil Limited, operator of Atala Marginal Field, Independent Energy Limited, operator of Ofa Marginal Field, Del-Sigma Petroleum Nigeria Limited, operator of Ke Marginal Field. Others are Sogenal Energy Limited, operator of Akepo Marginal Field; Sahara Energy Limited, African Oil & Gas Limiyd operator of Tsekelewu Marginal Field, Bicta Energy and Management Systems Ltd operator of Ogedeh Marginal Field, Goland Petroleum Limited operator of Oriri Marginal Field.

The marginal field operators, through their counsel, Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), Anthony George-Okolie (SAN), Uche Nwokedi (SAN), Pascal Ememonu and Joshua Ayanda, in the suit filed originating summons, motion ex parte, motion on notice and affidavit of urgency, all dated May 20, 2020 against the Minister of Petroleum Resources, the AGF and the Director of DPR.

They are challenging the purported revocation of the awards of marginal fields by the federal government sequel to a letter of revocation dated April 6, 2020.

They alleged that they have invested over 100 millions of dollars in the production and development of the affected marginal fields. The lawyers said that the purported revocation of their awards of marginal fields by the government violated their constitutional rights to fair hearing, their rights under the Petroleum Act and under the guidelines governing marginal fields in Nigeria.

They therefore prayed the court to halt the attempt by the federal government to include the affected marginal fields in the next bidding rounds for award of marginal fields as it recently announced pending the determination of the substantive suit. The court subsequently adjourned the matter to June 29, 2020 for hearing of the substantive suit.


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