Atala Oil Field remains Bayelsa’s prized asset, Diri insists
Urges FG to reverse revocation
Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, yesterday, clarified the state’s position on the Atala Oil Marginal Field (OML 46), which licence was revoked by the Federal Government through the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) in April 2020.
Diri, who reacted to the issue publicly for the first time amid the controversy it had generated in recent times, expressed shock over Federal Government’s revocation of the oil field.
He said the marginal oil field remained the state’s prized asset to which it was sentimentally attached and urged the Federal Government to reconsider its decision on the matter.
The governor stated this before the commencement of the weekly state executive council meeting at the Government House, Yenagoa.
A statement by his Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Daniel Alabrah, revealed that he enjoined the DPR, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, to consider returning the oil field to the state.
He noted that the Bayelsa State Government and the people were emotionally attached to field, saying it was the only oil asset belonging to the state.
“We kept silent over the issue of the Bayelsa State-owned Atala Oil Field, because we needed to have all the information that led to the revocation of its licence. Part of what I have done in the last one week of my absence was to state the position of the Bayelsa State Government, which I did clearly to President Muhammadu Buhari.
“So, our position on Atala Oil Field is that it is a prized asset of Bayelsa State and that revocation should be reversed. We have said so unequivocally and we believe that those in authority would see why we are emotionally attached to the oil field,” he stressed.
He maintained that although the state government might not have the financial capacity or technical know-how, it was ready to partner financial and technical experts to ensure that the field went into full production.
“Therefore, I use this opportunity to inform executive that the state government has actually taken a position on the Atala Oil Field and that it should remain a property of the state,” he added.
Diri also disclosed that he met with foreign missions and high commissions in Abuja in an attempt to attract foreign direct investments to the state, stressing that the move was aimed at changing the stereotype of insecurity and expressed hope that the dialogues would soon pay off for the state.