The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has restrained the Minister of Petroleum Resources, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), and the Director, Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) from selling, auctioning or accepting bids for some marginal fields belonging to some oil and gas operators in the country.
Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke said the restraining order would subsist until the hearing and determination of a suit on the issue.
The marginal field operators include Associated Oil and Gas Limited, Dansaki Petroleum Unlimited, Bayelsa Oil Limited, and Bicta Energy and Management Systems Limited.
Others are Del-Sigma Petroleum Nigeria Limited, Goland Petroleum Limited, Independent Energy Limited, Sahara Energy Limited, Sogenal Energy Limited, and African Oil and Gas Limited.
Through their lawyers, led by Tayo Oyetibo SAN, the marginal field operators, commenced a suit in court challenging the purported revocation of the awards of marginal fields by the Federal Government, sequel to a letter of revocation dated April 6, 2020.
They alleged that they have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the production and development of the affected marginal fields.
Their lawyers also stated that the purported revocation of their awards of marginal fields by the government violated their constitutional rights to a fair hearing, their rights under the Petroleum Act and under the guidelines governing marginal fields in Nigeria.
They then asked the court to halt the attempt by the Federal Government to include the affected marginal fields in the next bidding rounds, pending the determination of their suit.
After listening to the lawyers, Justice Aneke in granting their request noted that the respondents did not file any process in opposition and were also not represented by any counsel in court though they were served with hearing notices that the matter would come up for hearing today, the 3rd of June.
The court has adjourned to June 29 for the hearing of the substantive suit.