Members of the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Upstream) yesterday disagreed with the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) over the exclusion of Anambra, Enugu and Kogi states from the category of oil-producing states.
DPR, in a letter to the Senate, stated that the three states could only be declared oil-bearing states, if the oil firm in the area, Orient Oil, scales up its operations from oil prospecting to oil mining lease (OML).
It insisted that Anambra, Kogi and Enugu could not be categorised as oil-producing states because they had not met necessary requirements.
But chairman of the committee, Senator Tayo Alasoadura, said the issue at stake had to do with a referral to the committee on the contentious boundary between Anambra, Kogi and Enugu.
He noted that the report “FG confirms Anambra oil producing status” threw up the matter.
Alasoadura said that his committee lacked the power to declare a state oil producing, as it believed that the Na
tional Boundary Commission (NBC) was in the best position to settle the matter.
The Ondo Central senator disclosed that the committee wrote to the DPR, but the response was not satisfactory; hence the members wanted to hear from the NBC.
He added that the committee also decided to hear from the commission because “when we had a similar issue in Ondo State in the past, it was your commission that resolved it.”
Senator Chukwuka Utazi (Enugu North) noted that the issue of OPL 915 and 916 dated back to antiquity.
Utazi said, “I didn’t know that this motion would come up, because we had already resolved the issue when Senator Isaac Alfa was away.
“Kogi and Enugu states do not have problem; the two are in agreement. But Enugu and Anambra are not in agreement.
“We in Enugu want to be declared as oil-producing state too. Let that be done pending when the boundary commission finishes its work.”
He made case for Orient: “An oil company that had been able to move from 3,000 to 10,000 barrels per day should have graduated from oil prospecting to oil mining lease.”
He said that they would go to the DPR to find out why Orient Oil refused to move from oil prospecting to oil mining lease.