Optimum Petroleum clears air on OPL 310
Optimum Petroleum Development Company Limited, OPDCL, has cleared the air on its dispute with Afren Investment Oil and Gas Nigeria Limited, and Lekoil 310 Limited, saying that the companies failed to obtain its consent and the consent of the Minister of Petroleum before the purported transfer of shares to Lekoil and 22.86 percent participating interest in OPL 310.
In a rejoinder to media report, Optimum noted that on March 28, 2019, a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, presided over by Justice M. Hassan, delivered judgment in favour of the company and the petroleum minister in suit No. FHC/L/CS/482/18.
Chairman of Optimum, Alhaji Ibrahim Bunu, in a statement, said that the court in its judgment dismissed the suit as lacking in merit when it found that Lekoil had not acquired the shares of Afren and by that, interest in Oil Prospecting Licence, OPL 310 as its purported acquisition was inchoate and invalid.
It added that by the judgment, the consent of the Petroleum Minister and the consent of Optimum to the transfer of shares of Afren to Lekoil and indirectly the 22.86 percent interest in OPL 310 could not be obtained in default.
Besides, it stated that by the judgment of the Federal High Court, Afren and Lekoil failed to obtain the consent of Optimum and the Petroleum Minister before the purported transfer of the shares of Afren to Lekoil.
“Lekoil and Afren appealed this judgment to the Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos, but later withdrew the appeal by a notice of withdrawal of appeal filed on May 16, 2019, at the Court of Appeal, thereby, confirming the judgment as final, valid, subsisting, and binding.
“Optimum notes with great concern some recent publications purportedly issued by Afren titled: “Notice of caution to all persons dealing or considering dealing with the 22.86 percent participating interest held by Afren Investment Oil and Gas Nigeria Limited in OPL 310 pursuant to consent by the Minister of Petroleum Resources in accordance with Nigerian Petroleum Law,” which were published in the media recent.
“Aside from the fact that no name or position in Afren was indicated as the author of the said publications on behalf of Afren, the said publications concealed or otherwise misrepresented material facts concerning the proceedings before the court and the subsistence of an ex parte order of injunction granted by the court on March 30, 2023, in another suit initiated by the same plaintiffs after the said final judgment of the same court on March 28, 2019, to wit: suit No. FHC/L/CS/563/2023 – Afren & Lekoil v. Optimum,” the statement added.