Oil Field Auction: Court Restates Order Restraining Petroleum Minister, DPR

The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has restated its order restraining the Minister of Petroleum Resources and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) from taking any step on revoking the Ororo Marginal Field in OML 95 pending a suit challenging its status.

Justice Muslim Hassan reiterated the order on Wednesday after being informed that the DPR was allegedly advertising a bidding process for Marginal Field(s), which may jeopardise the interest of the plaintiff, Owena Oil and Gas Ltd.

The court held that it would deal with any breach of its order directing parties to maintain the status quo in relation to the revocation.

Counsel to the plaintiff, Mr Kemi Pinheiro, had informed the judge that despite the order, the DPR published an advertorial requesting for bids for Marginal Field(s).

He, therefore, sought the court’s protection.

Counsel to the minister, Mr Babajide Ogundipe, informed the court that he had an application and he asked the court for a date for the hearing.

After listening to all the parties, Justice Hassan adjourned further hearing until June 30.

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

Owena, in the suit, said the first and second defendants (the minister and DPR), “purportedly revoked the Ororo Marginal Field without recourse to the Plaintiff.”

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

The company also claimed, “The purported revocation of the Ororo Marginal Field within OML 95 is unlawful, invalid, null and void and of no effect whatsoever, having been made during the pendency of the appeal over the decision of this Honourable Court Coram I.N. Buba in Suit No.FHC/L/CS/1815/14: Owena Oil and Gas Limited v. Hon Minister of Petroleum Resources & Ors.”

On May 27, the court had granted an order of interim injunction against the defendants following a motion ex-parte application filed by Owena Oil and Gas Ltd on May 19.

The order restrained the defendants from taking any steps in relation to the suit and ordered the parties to maintain the status quo in relation to the revocation pending the determination of the matter.

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