Nigeria’s Ministry of Petroleum Resources says there are no sharp practices in the on-going renewal of oil and gas leases as claimed by the House of Representatives.
The Ministry made its position known in a statement signed by Mr Idang Alibi, Director of press, in Abuja.
Alibi said the early lease renewal embarked upon by the Ministry was to boost the Federal Government’s earning potential and encourage increased investments by the leaseholders.
“Our attention has been drawn to a publication making the rounds that the House of Representatives said it would investigate the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, over alleged irregularities in the on-going oil and gas lease renewal.
“The report further stated that the House would also probe the involvement of the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, on the same matter.
“The Ministry of Petroleum Resources would like to affirm most definitely that there are no irregularities associated with any lease renewal undertaken by the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and particularly, the Department of Petroleum Resources.’’
He said: “It would be of essence to note that the early lease renewal programme is a process ingeniously developed to expand and speed up earning potential from the renewal programme for the Federal Government.’’
He further said the process was meant to “create security of title to leaseholders so as to allow them continue the massive investments needed to improve production from their fields”.
Alibi explained that the process started with an application from a lease holder, an evaluation from Department of Petroleum Resources, followed by a review by the Honourable Minister of State, Petroleum Resources.
He said that based on the initial steps, recommendations would be made to the president for final approval.
He further declared that the Minister of State and DPR were waiting for the advertised invitation from the House of Representatives to clarify any misunderstandings the House might have on the process.
“We would like to state that the Minister of State and DPR are proud of the enormous work done on early renewals, the unprecedented revenue raised under the programme, and the effect it has had on investment.
“The Ministry would also use this opportunity to clarify that the early renewal programme applies only to renewal of existing leases and does not involve issuance of any new licenses for oil fields,” he added.