Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke
Industry stakeholders have expressed concerns that the planned marginal fields licensing rounds may be fraught with irregularities following deficit of certain transparency indices that are required in the process.
Speaking against the backdrop of recent disclosure by the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, that an oil licensing round would take place before the end of the year, these stakeholders noted that some of the salient requirements that should make credible oil bid rounds were currently lacking in the sector.
A retired official of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), who would not like to be mentioned in the paper, noted that the country cannot expect to have a transparent bidding round for her marginal oil fields when certain requirements have not been fulfilled by the oil and gas industry regulatory agency, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).
The official stated: “I wouldn’t know the current procedure for allocation of marginal fields to operators but before now, the fields on offer were publicly announced by the DPR inviting interested companies to submit proposals on a bidding form together with non-refundable fees, which include application fee per field, identification of fields being applied for, data prying fee per field and bid processing fee per field.”
“All these actually fall short of the requirements for regular commercial bids for block allocation, but they constitute an incentive. We are yet to hear or read in the papers of any public announcement of available fields inviting potential operators by DPR, the ex-NNPC chief added.
Also, energy consultant to German agency, Henrich Boll Foundation, Japheth Omojuwa stated at an interactive session that operations in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector have consistently continued to abhor transparency.
He said: “The administration of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, even with all its flaws, still encouraged transparency in the bidding processes; you would see public notice announcing intended bidding rounds with requirements and baseline expectations, at least it was fair and competitive irrespective of whatever happened behind closed doors.
But now, we just hear that this is going to happen without any public notice and from what we know, lack of information breeds corruption; so we are back to square one where nepotism and all that inconsistencies drive activities of an industry that keeps our economy, this is not how to run a country no matter how small it is.”