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Lukoil commenced legal proceedings against Nigeria’s Ministry of Petroleum Resources over its failure to grant consent to the company’s investment in OPL 310, following its acquisition of a previous stakeholding by Afren Plc.
The company said in a statement that despite progressing exploration and appraisal activities on the acreage, it had, to date, not received ministerial consent for its acquisition of the additional 22.86% interest in OPL 310 or a satisfactory explanation on why such consent had not been granted.
As a result, the company said it took the decision to apply to Nigeria’s Federal High Court for a declaration that is expected to expedite the consent process and preserve the unexpired tenure in the license.
In the suit, Lekoil affirmed that an application for the transfer of the 22.86% interest was duly made by Afren Nigeria in January 2016, adding that as the transaction was not undertaken on the basis of an assigned interest in the oil block, approval by Optimum was not required under the JOA between Optimum and Afren.
Lekoil said it was notified by the Ministry of Petroleum Resources in March 2016 that the necessary due diligence exercise would be conducted that month. However, the due diligence did not take place and has not been rescheduled by the Department of Petroleum Resources since then.
The company further stated that the delay in consent was standing in the way of the company’s plans for the development of a work program for the Ogo field (the only discovery on the block) for which it had signed a MoU with GE Oil & Gas.