Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
Shell Petroleum Development Company has described claim by the Rivers State Government that it has taken over its asset in Oil Mining Lease, OML 11 in Kidney Island, Port Harcourt in compliance with a court judgment as very hasty, premature and prejudicial action.
The multinational oil company said this in a statement issued by its spokesperson, Gbenga Odugbesan, in response to the sealing of the facility by officials of the Rivers State Government on Wednesday.
“The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) has dismissed the purported takeover of Kidney Island asset of the SPDC Joint Venture in Port Harcourt by the Rivers State government in the exercise of rights purportedly acquired through a Court auction process that is still the subject of ongoing appeals at the Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt.
“Any purported exercise of rights allegedly acquired through that process including any attempt to take over or seal up the Kidney Island asset or other assets of the SPDC JV to satisfy claims in pending suits is premature and prejudicial to the ongoing court proceedings, and therefore not recognised.
“Under the Nigerian Petroleum Act, any acquisition or assignment of interests in a licence or lease would require the consent of the Minister of Petroleum. No such consent has been given in the case of the purported acquisition by the Rivers State Government.
Recall that the Rivers State government sealed and took over the ownership of Kidney Island from Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC yesterday, Wednesday December 23.
Professor Zacheus Adangor, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria who is also the Rivers State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice led the team that sealed off the Oil Mining Lease, OML, 11, and the kidney Island in Port Harcourt.
In a statement signed Kelvin Ebiri, the media aide to Governor Nyesom Wike, quoted Adangor as explaining that the government had by the enforcement, secured its 45 per cent equity stake in Oil Mining Lease, OML, 11, and the Island in Port Harcourt.
Rivers State Government said the Island used by SPDC as its operational base in Port Harcourt, now belongs to the Rivers State government, following a certificate of purchase registered in the Lands Registry as No. 6 at page 6 in Vol. 46, Port Harcourt.
Ebiri noted that the Certificate of Purchase was issued by the order of the High Court of Rivers State on July 23, 2019 and September 25, 2019 following the purchase of the facility.