President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the Department of Petroleum Resources to restore four oil mining licences revoked from Addax Petroleum.

The was disclosed in a statement by the president’s aide, Garba Shehu, on Friday.

Addax, owned by the Chinese state-run Sinopec, has a production sharing contract with the Nigerian National Petroleum Cooperation.

The Nigerian government, through the DPR, had revoked the four OMLs, citing the company’s inability to comply with targets.

Two weeks ago, a committee set by Mr Buhari to investigate Addax submitted a report, accusing the petroleum company of “economic waste.”

The committee led by a former senator, Magnus Abe, said $1 billion had been invested in the contract but Addax Petroleum called it off over an issue that was totally unrelated to the project. The action put over 3000 Nigerians out of work, the committee said.

The DPR on Thursday inaugurated a team to evaluate the revoked assets of Addax Petroleum Exploration Nigeria Ltd.

“DPR had recently revoked the four assets of Addax Petroleum Exploration Nigeria Ltd., namely OMLs 123, 124, 126 and 137 due to the non-development of the assets by the company,” the statement issued by the agency’s spokesperson, Paul Osu, said.

ALSO READ: Panel says Addax Petroleum caused Nigeria ‘economic waste’, submits report to Buhari

Mr Auwalu said team of experts will evaluate the current status (As-is) of the revoked assets, including liabilities post revocation, in order to facilitate takeover of the assets by the new operators- Kaztech/Slavic Consortium.

It was not immediately clear why the presidency intervened on Friday.

Mr Shehu’s statement said: “President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the restoration of the leases on OMLs 123, 124, 126 and 137 to the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC which is in production sharing contract with Addax Petroleum, a company wholly owned by Government of the People’s Republic of China on the blocks. The leases belonging to the Federation were revoked on March 30, 2021.

“While directing the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR to retract the letter of revocation of the leases, the President also directed NNPC to utilize contractual provisions to resolve issues in line with the extant provisions of the Production Sharing Contract arrangement between NNPC and Addax,” it said.

It said the restoration of the blocks to NNPC would increase crude oil production and revenue to the Federation Account.

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