Nairametrics| According to Guardian, about 51 oil prospecting licenses and oil mining licenses of different oil blocks in the country have either expired or will expire soon. This could result in the Federal Government (FG) about $2 billion in signature bonuses if not appropriately dealt with.
Already the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has complained in its current oil and gas report that discretionary decision-making and lack of openness drove down competition and returns to Nigeria, including over $2 billion in unpaid signature bonuses. According to NEITI in its latest report, past upstream licensing processes in Nigeria have fallen well short of best practices and failed to secure maximum value for the country’s assets. The examples of these licenses include the following
- OPL 204 expired 2010 belonging to Africoil and Marketing
- OPL 302 expired 2001 belonging to Alfred James Nigeria Limited
- OPL 207 expired October 2016 belonging to Continental Oil and Gas
- OPL 245 expiring May 2017 owned by Amalgamated Oil Company Limited
- OPLs 305 and 306 expiring June 2017 owned by Crownwell Petroleum Limited
- OPLs 321 and 323 expired March 2017 and belonging to KNOC
- 17 OPLs expiring 2019 owned by Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC)
Most of these companies whose licenses have expired or will expire soon have not yet signaled interest in renewing them or letting them go. Meanwhile, the Department of Petroleum Resources whose job it is to cater for renewal of licenses have kept mum about the matter.
For a country who has gone on a heavy borrowing spree, it remains baffling that crude oil production which remains responsible for about 90% of government revenue is still not properly handled. It remains obvious that leakages like this are really biting deep in government coffers.