House to probe Shell, minister over Sale Of Oil Block


Nigeria's Minister of Petroleum Diezani Allison-Madueke speaks at a media briefing on a new gas price regime in the capital of Abuja
The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison- Madueke has come under the radar of the House of Representatives once again, but this time over the alleged illegal sale of Oil Mining Licence (OML 29).

The House yesterday resolved to investigate the Minister and oil giants, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) over the sale of the Oil Bloc.

The Speaker, Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal said an ad hoc committee would be set up to probe the validity of the transactions, though he is yet to name the members of the panel which would  report back to the House within two weeks of its composition.

The resolution of the House was sequel to the adoption of a motion brought on the floor by a member, Hon. Irona Alphonsus Gerald titled: “Inadvertent Sale of OML 29 and other OMLS by SPDC and other Oil Majors”.

Gerald un the motion alleged that Shell and other Oil Majors may have hidden under the cover of waivers usually granted by the petroleum minister to embark on the sale of OML 29 and others.

According to him, OML 29 has been in the custody of Shell for more than 52 years and one-half of the area of lease has not been relinquished to the federal government as stipulated by the Petroleum Act.

“Item 12(1) of the First Schedule to the Petroleum Act stipulates that ten years after the grant of an oil mining lease, one-half of lease shall be relinquished to the federal government,” he said.

The lawmaker said that against the stipulation of the Act, Shell had sold OML 29 and other OMLs, saying the out-right sale was in direct contravention of the Act and undermines national interest.

Recall that Shell in a divestment move had already sold eight Niger Delta licences for a total $1.8 billion since 2010 and had further indicated its plans to sell four more onshore oil blocks in Nigeria with a reported total production of around 70,000 barrels per day (bpd).