Imo gets first oil bloc, set for mining

From Everest Ezihe, Owerri

The age-long efforts of Imo State Government as an oil producing State to have its own licenced oil block have eventually paid off, courtesy of Imo State Petroleum Development Company, an oil and gas exploration and mining company owned by the state government and now set to commence oil mining, having participated and won the bid for the award of the oil block.

This cheering news was disclosed in Owerri over the weekend by Rt. Hon. Goodluck Nana Opiah, the Special Adviser to Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State and Coordinator Petroleum and Gas Matters.

Opiah pointed out that the formation of the State owned oil producing company would lead to massive job creation for the teaming population of youths in the state and enhance government revenue.

He recalled that the State owned Oil Company was established about 20 years as a major player in the Oil and Gas sector for the State, noting that Governor Uzodimma justifying his commitments in the operations of the company has magnanimously increased the share capital of the Company to 10 billion shares.

He added that the Company would bid for Oil Mining License (OML) and engage in oil exploration activities and mining in the overall interest of the state and the nation at large.

The Special Adviser also informed that the oil producing company had partnered with Oak Company, an oil and gas giant based in the United States of America, for the establishment of a refinery in Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area of the State during Chief Ikedi Ohakim’s administration stressing that the deal could not sail through partly because of the restiveness in the Niger Delta region then which inadvertently forced the US Government to place travel restrictions on the states within the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, which also led the Oak Company to pull out of the deal.

According to Opiah “the Imo Petroleum Development Company will establish refineries in addition to prospecting for Oil and Gas as well as engage in the production of petrochemical products beside oil production.”

Speaking on the acquisition of the oil block, Opiah insisted that it was in fulfilment of Governor Uzodimma’s pledge of making the State a major player in the oil and gas sector, adding that the Governor’s selfless interest in the sector had started yielding tremendous results while calling on the people of the State for their tremendous support and cooperation to the Governor so as to motivate him to do more.

Opiah further said that “it is pertinent to inform that the state’s authority to own an oil block is contained in a letter from the Department of Petroleum Resources of the Ministry of Petroleum, Abuja, and addressed to the Managing Director/CEO of the Company, dated January 22, 2021, and signed by the Director of the Department of Petroleum Resources, Engr. Saraki Auwalu, titled: 2020 MARGINAL FIELD BID ROUND (MFBR) EXERCISE: SIGNATURE BONUS PAYMENT CURRENCY DENOMINATION .
The letter, among other things reads: “Further to our letter of 16th December 2020 …. notifying you of your status in the ongoing MFBR exercise, please be informed that Government has decided to accept the payment of Signature Bonus for the 2020 MFBR in either US dollars or the Nigerian Naira” he stated.

It could be recalled that the State Government on July 29, 2020 announced the establishment of Imo Petroleum Development Company (IPDC), as part of measures to make the State play more meaningful role in the Oil and Gas sector.

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