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Court Orders FG To Renew Shell’s OML 11 For 20 Years

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has ordered the Minister of Petroleum Resources to grant the renewal of the Oil Mineral Lease (OML) 11 to Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria for 20 years.

Justice Taiwo Taiwo gave the order on Friday in a judgment delivered on the suit filed by Shell Petroleum Development Company.

He held that renewal would be for 20 years and not 30, as requested by the company.

‎The suit by Shell was instituted against the Minister of Petroleum Resources and the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources.

However, rather than 30 years the oil firm prayed for in the suit, Justice Taiwo Taiwo ruled that renewal would be for only 20 years in line with the Petroleum Act.

President Muhammadu Buhari had in his 43-man new cabinet, retained himself as the Minister of Petroleum Resources.

FG had asked the court to dismiss the suit and decline to okay renewal request by SPDC owing to challenges involving national security.

It told the court that as a responsible government whose primary objective is to guaranty the safety of lives and properties in the country, it refused to renew OML 11 as a pre-emptive measure to prevent the occurrence or escalation of a security breach in Ogoni area.

SPDC had in its suit, sought an order is to compel the Minister of Petroleum Resources (Buhari) to renew OML 11, in addition to 14 other oil mining leases approved for it on June 30, 2019.

In a counter-affidavit filed in opposition to the suit marked CS/524/19, FG disclosed that OML 11 covered an area of 3,095.25 square kilometres that stretched between Rivers and Imo states with 14 oilfields, 10 out of which is located in Ogoni area of Rivers State.

It said besides the security challenges, SPDC, tried to compel it to commit an illegality since an approval by the Minister of State for Petroleum of a single oil block size of 3, 095.25, is tantamount to facilitating illegality in contravention of the (Drilling and Production) Regulation that limited the size of OML block to 1.295 square kilometers(500 miles).

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