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The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), has rejuvenated the fate of winners of the 2020 marginal field bid exercise as awardees are expected to commence production before the end of this June. Gbenga Komolafe, chief executive officer (CEO) of NUPRC, had recently disclosed that the agency is targeting June for marginal field awardees to begin the field development plan (FDP).

The Nigerian Upstream regulatory boss further stated that the plan includes all activities and processes required to optimally develop their various field. Mr Komolafe vividly recalled that over 600 companies had applied to be pre-qualified for the bid rounds of 57 marginal fields, which began on June 1, 2020.

The 2020 marginal oilfield bid round was the first successful bid since 2003 when 24 assets were last put on offer. The process, which eventually culminated in the presentation of letters to the bid winners in Abuja by the industry regulator in June 2021, started in June last year, with 57 marginal fields spanning land, swamp and offshore put up for lease by the federal government.

Nigeria-Round-Off-Marginal-Field-Bid-Round-Present-Letters-To-Successful-Winners

At the inception of the transformation of the n Department od Petroleum Resources DPR to The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), The nascent body NUPRC has invited reserve bidders for the 2020 marginal fields programme completed in 2021, after some initial bid winners failed to pay up their signature bonuses within the stipulated time.

A public notice signed by the Commission’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr. GbengaKomolafe, indicated that a number of the winners of the assets could not pay the fee, prompting the organisation to rework the process.

Speaking on the issue of the 2020 marginal fields award at his inception of duty, Komolafe said although the commission came into a difficult situation, he will see to resolution of  all issues by the first half of this year.

“It’s critical because one of our cardinal objectives is to ensure that we increase the national oil production, and of course, we realise that the fields will help in enhancing that,” the CEO said.

“We took the issue frontally. It’s really been very challenging to handle the issue in the sense that the model used poses serious challenges to bringing the matter to an end quickly.

“But I want to assure Nigerians and indeed the awardees that we have been able to, as I speak, tried to bring the issue to a manageable state and devise a strategy for bringing the challenge to a close.”

The 2020 marginal field bid exercise came with much anxiety given previous bid round that were shrouded with much lack of openness. Industry players openly expressed doubts about the transparency and credibility of the 2020 marginal fields’ bid round process being handled by the defunct Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Nigeria’s oil and gas regulatory agency.

The federal government estimated to rise over $500 million from the bid round in terms of signature bonuses from the 57 fields, penciled down for auctioning.

If these pre-qualification shortcomings are not strictly addressed, it will open the door to a political crony system and insider dealing that has hitherto plagued the previous award system, thus stalling any meaningful development on the assets, some feared.

The commission’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Gbenga Komolafe, recently expounded the need for the regulator to ensure that law and due process were followed in the award of licenses to operators, stating categorically that under his leadership, no marginal field operator would be allowed to “trade” in papers issued by the organisation. He stated that the rule of law would be strictly followed in the issuance of final licences to the winners, stating that no amount of pressure would make the commission award final documents without due process.

The commission is convinced that all precautions have been taken care of, he projected that the agency, is targeting June for marginal field awardees to begin the field development plan (FDP).

The plan includes all activities and processes required to optimally develop a field.

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