26 January 2019, Sweetcrude, Abuja — The Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Friday, denied claims of malpractices in the ongoing renewal of oil and gas leases by the House of Representatives, stating that the process is devoid of irregularities.
In a statement in Abuja, Director of Press of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Mr. Idang Alibi, explained that the early lease renewal embarked upon by the Ministry was to boost the Federal Government’s earning potential from the leases and also encourage increased investments by the leaseholders.
Alibi said, “Our attention has been drawn to a publication making the rounds that The House of Representatives on Thursday, 24th January 2019 said it would investigate the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, over alleged irregularities in the ongoing 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 particular, the Department of Petroleum Resources.
“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 and to also create security of title to leaseholders so as to allow them to continue the massive investments needed to improve production from their fields.
“The process would start with an application from a leaseholder, an evaluation from Department of Petroleum Resources, followed by a review by the Honourable Minister of State, Petroleum Resources and culminating in a recommendation to the President for final approval.”
He further declared that the Minister of State and the DPR await the advertised invitation from the House of Representatives, and would, as always, respond to clarify any misunderstandings the House may have on the renewed leases as part of the normal oversight functions of the Assembly.
Alibi added that “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 the renewal of existing leases and does not involve the issuance of any new licenses for oil fields.”