No irregularities in oil blocs renewal, says Kachikwu
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, yesterday in Abuja, said there are no irregularities in the ongoing renewal of over 42 oil licences by the federal government.
Reacting to reports alleging that the House of Representatives plans to investigate him and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) over alleged irregularities in the oil and gas lease renewal, Kachikwu said he would be willing to respond to questions should the lawmakers require clarification on the issue.
Addressing the allegation through the Director Press, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Idang Alibi, Kachikwu insisted that there are no irregularities associated with any lease renewal undertaken by the ministry and particularly, the DPR, adding that all oil blocs due for renewal would be approved by the first quarter of the year and the plan follows the early renewal policy instituted by the current administration.
Though extant regulations stipulate that operators apply six months ahead, Kachikwu disclosed that over $2 billion has already been generated from the renewal to enable the country finance its budget, noting that the early lease renewal programme is a process ingeniously developed to expand and speed up earning potential from the renewal programme for the federal government and to also create security of title to leaseholders, so as to allow them continue the massive investments needed to improve production from their fields.
“The process would start with an application from a lease holder, an evaluation from DPR, followed by a review by the minister of State, Petroleum Resources and culminating in a recommendation to the President for final approval.
“Based on the report, the minister and DPR await the advertised invitation from the House and as always, would respond to clarify any misunderstandings the House may have on the renewed leases as part of its normal oversight functions,” Kachikwu stated.
Kachikwu disclosed that the early renewal programme applies only to renewal of existing leases and does not involve issuance of any new licenses for oil fields.
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