River State Government has just acquired Shell’s 45% stake in Oil Mining Lease 11, situated in Eleme and other parts of Ogoni land.
This was revealed by the Governor of the State, Nyesom Wike in a broadcast from the State Government House, BrickHouse in Port Harcourt.
“I am delighted to inform you that the Rivers State Government has fully acquired Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) 45% interest in OML 11 situated in Ejama Ebubuo community in Eleme Local Government Area and the adjoining Ogoni and other communities of Rivers State,” Wike said.
[READ MORE: NNPC transfers stake in four oil wells to NPDC]
What you should know: Ever since the death of Ken Saro Wiwa and the Ogoni 9, the Oil Mining lease 11 has been underdeveloped for close to 25 years.
The oil field is part of Shell’s several onshore assets that the oil giant has been looking to sell in Nigeria. A couple of deals failed due to the tensions that occurred.
Wike revealed that a bid of $150 million was made for the purchase of Shell’s stakes after they were placed on auction following an extant order of the Court.
The Oil Mining Lease 11 has the capacity to produce 250,000 barrels per day (bpd).
In August, A Federal High Court in Abuja instructed The Minister of Petroleum Resources, President Muhammadu Buhari to grant the renewal of the Oil Mineral Lease (OML) 11 license to the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria.
The renewal was expected to last for 20 years even though a renewal of 30 years was requested by the company.
[FURTHER READ: NNPC yet to receive notice of OML 11 takeover from Presidency]
Why this matters: The oil block has caused protracted disputes between the people of Ogoniland and Shell over the degradation of their environment. The root cause of the dispute is historic due to the death of Ken Saro Wiwa and 9 others which forced the local arm of Shell to abandon activities in the Ogoni section of the lease.
The Federal Government tried to intervene in the matter and directed the Nigerian National Petroleum Commission (NNPC) to take over the entire OML 11 from Shell Petroleum Development Company in March 2019. It also refused to renew Shell’s operating license.