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Bayelsa seeks probe into loss of Atala oil Field.



The Management of Bayelsa Oil Company Limited has appealed to the governor of the state, Douye Diri, to probe into the loss of Atala oil field located on oil mining leases 46.

The company described the loss of its operating license in the last marginal oilfields licensing rounds to Halkin Exploration and Production Limited as a betrayal by its former partners.

The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) had on April 6, 2020, announced the revocation of 11 of the 13 marginal fields licenses, including Oil Mining Lease (OML) 46, for Atala field held by Bayelsa Oil Company.

The DPR had in 2003 issued marginal field licenses to indigenous oil firms and oil-bearing states to build capacity and promote Nigerians’ participation in the oil sector.

The Bayelsa Oil Company which holds the majority stake of 51 per cent in OML 46, lost the license, and said its misfortune was caused by its partner who clandestinely submitted a bid that won the license.

DPR however, awarded the Atala fields to Halkin Exploration and Production Limited.

Halkin had informed DPR in writing that “in 2019, through one of its subsidiary companies, received the approval of the board of Bayelsa Oil Company Limited (BOCL former operators of Atala Field) to farm-in to 41 per cent of the field through the execution of Farm/in agreement and Field Management Service agreement with BOCL.

The company claimed to have invested over $60 million to revive the asset in the process.

The Bayelsa Oil Company on Monday, called on Governor of the state, Douye Diri, to probe the case of breach of trust, misrepresentation, corruption, obtaining by false pretense and criminal conversion of Atala marginal field OML 46 by some groups of individuals.

A statement signed by Mr Bello Akpoku, the Acting Managing Director of Bayelsa Oil Company Limited, said that the Atala Oil Field had been plagued by serious uncertainties ever since its revocation.

Akpoku stated that some individuals in Bayelsa were trying to fraudulently convert the state-owned asset to their private asset.

According to him, the Bayelsa Oil Company Limited had severally written to all stakeholders and other principal officers of the state, pleading for their intervention on the current circumstances surrounding the Atala field.

He explained that the letters also highlighted the pathetic situation and challenges faced by the management and members of staff, who have not been paid salaries for two years now.

He said that the management, in spite of the concurrent threats to their lives from all corners, had not relented in challenging every effort at taking away the oil field held by Bayelsa Government in trust for the people of Bayelsa.

The company also stated that it had written letters to the residents, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, DPR and equally written petition to the Inspector General of Police, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other relevant security agencies.

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