OPL245 l Malabu drags FG to court

Days after a Federal High Court vacated an interim order of forfeiture on the Oil Prospecting Licence (OPL) 245,   Malabu Oil and Gas has filed a suit against the Federal Government and six others challenging  re-allocation of the oil bloc. 

Other defendants in the suit are Minister of Petroleum Resources, Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Ltd, Nigerian Agip Exploration Company Ltd, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and Dan Etete.

Malabu, through its lawyer, J.A Achimugu in a writ of summons marked FHC/ABJ/CS/201/2017, is praying the court for a declaration that its rights and interest in OPL 245 granted or re-allocated to it is still valid and subsisting.

It also wants a declaration that not being a party to the April 29, 2011, block 245 resolution agreement is not bound by the terms of the said agreement as it relates to or concerns OPL 245.

In addition, Malabu is seeking a declaration that, not being a party to the block 245 resolution agreement, any payment purportedly made by the defendants into any bank account, purporting to be the plaintiff’s bank account and, or made to the ninth defendant, purportedly in the name of Malabu, was not payment made in pursuance of the said block 245 resolution agreement.

Also, Malabu is seeking a declaration that allocation of OPL 245 by government, vide its May 11, 2011 letter, while its rights and the interests to OPL 245 was subsisting, is in violation of its exclusive right under paragraph 5 of the First schedule to the Petroleum Act, to explore and prospect for petroleum within the area covered by OPL 245 and is, therefore invalid, wrongful, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.

Malabu also wants the court to give a declaration that the grant of OPL 245 by government, in the exercise of its powers, under Section 2 of the Petroleum Act Cap. P.10 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (2004) does not constitute an offence under any penal law in Nigeria and OPL 245 is not the proceeds of any offence or crime under EFCC (Establishment) Act Cap. E1 Laws of the Federation 2004 or any other law in force in Nigeria.

The oil company, however, wants the court to make an order compelling government and the ministry to restore to it, its right to the exclusive possession of OPL 245.

Malabu is also praying the court for an order of perpetual injunction restraining government and associates, particularly, the sixth defendant from treating and or dealing with OPL 245 as a proceed of an offence and from interfering in any manner whatsoever and howsoever with its exclusive right to explore and prospect for petroleum in the area of OPL 245.

It is also wants an order of perpetual injunction restraining government from carrying out any exploration or prospecting activities in connection with or in relation to the area covered by OPL 245.

The matter has not yet been assigned for hearing.

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