Lekoil Sues FG over OPL 310
Lekoil Limited, a West Africa-focused oil exploration and production company, yesterday commenced legal proceedings against the Ministry of Petroleum Resources over government’s failure to grant consent for Lekoil’s investment in Oil Prospecting Lease (OPL) 310 block offshore Nigeria following its acquisition of previous stakeholding by Afren Plc.
According to the plaintiff, “Despite progressing exploration and appraisal activities on OPL 310 as previously announced, Lekoil has, to date, not received Ministerial Consent for its acquisition of the additional 22.86 per cent interest in OPL 310 or a satisfactory explanation of why such consent has not been forthcoming.”
“As a result, the Company has taken the decision to apply to the Federal High Court for a declaration that is expected to expedite the consent process, and preserve the unexpired tenure in the licence.”
Lekoil said: “On 1 February 2013, Mayfair Assets and Trust Limited, a subsidiary of LEKOIL, farmed into Afren Investments Oil and Gas (Nigeria) Limited’s (AIOGNL) interest in OPL 310 for a 17.14 per cent participating interest and 30 per cent economic interest, subject to Ministerial Consent from Nigeria’s Minister for Petroleum Resources. Ministerial Consent was granted for the interest on June 9, 2017.”
On July31, 2015, Afren plc (“Afren”), the parent company of Afren Oil & Gas that held interests in the OPL 310 licence, was put into administration and its assets put up for sale.