Timipre Sylva, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources

By Akin Kuponiyi

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos south west Nigeria has restrained the Minister of Petroleum Resources and Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) from revoking the Ororo Marginal Field in OML 95 pending the determination of the substantive suit filed before the court.

The presiding Judge, Muslim Sule Hassan, granted the order of interim injunction against the respondents following a motion of ex parte filed by Owena Oil and Gas Ltd.

Justice Hassan ordered the parties to maintain status quo in relation to the revocation pending the determination of the Motion on Notice before the court.


He, thereafter, adjourned till June 10 for hearing.

Ororo field, which was discovered in 1986, is located within OML 95 in shallow waters offshore Ondo State. It lies in water depths ranging between 23ft and 27 ft.

Owena averred that the Minister of Petroleum resources and Department of Petroleum resources who are first and second respondents respectively in the suit purportedly revoked the Ororo Maginal Field without recourse to the plaintiff.

It contended that it would suffer “irreparable damage and loss unless the defendants are restrained.”

In his ruling, Justice Hassan, acceded to the request of the plaintiff and issued an order of interim injunction restraining the defendants from taking any step in respect of the revocation pending determination of the motion on notice.

The oil Company filed the suit with the Minister, DPR and Guarantee Petroleum Company Ltd as first to third respondents.

It sought four reliefs: an interim order restraining the first two respondents “from implementing, continuing to implement, enforcing and/or giving effect to the purported revocation of the Ororo Marginal Field within OML 95; an injunction restraining them from taking any action on or putting the Ororo Marginal Field within OML95 in the bid basket or conducting any marginal field bid round in respect of Ororo Marginal Field; an order restraining both respondents from publishing the purported revocation of the Ororo Marginal Field within OML 95 in the official gazette of the Federal Republic of Nigeria pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice, and
an order restraining the respondents from, among others, issuing re-entry permits to the third respondent, Guarantee Petroleum Company, to deal with the Ororo Marginal Field.

The plaintiff contended that, “This application seeks to ensure that the orders of this Honourable Court are not rendered nugatory or a situation of fait accompli foisted upon the Court pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.

“Unless restrained by this honourable court, the 1st and 2nd defendants will put the Ororo Marginal Field within OML95 in the bid basket.

“The balance of convenience is in favour of the applicant who will suffer irreparable damage unless the defendants are restrained by this honourable court as per the prayers sought in this application pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.”