Marginal Oil Fields Awardees Lose Allocation For Failure To Pay Signature Bonus–NUPRC



Olusola Bello


Many of those that participated in the marginal field exercise and were given letters of awarded status, have lost their allocation for failure to pay the requisite Signature Bonus after the timeline of 45 days lapsed.

According to a public notice placed on its website, the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) said following this development their respective equity participation have expired by operations of law, and  such  have reverted to the bid basket due to effusion of time for payment of the applicable Signature  Bonus

The public notice which was signed by Gbenga Komolafe, chief executive of the Commission, it stated:  “Notice is here given to the general public and particularly, all recipients of the letter of notification of potential Awardees Status in the 2020 Marginal field bid round MFBR that  the forty five (45) calendar days payment of the requisite Signature Bonus has since lapsed.”


“Accordingly, in line with the rules and guidelines governing the 2020 Marginal Field Bid Round and the notification of potentials award letters, all offers made to potential awardees who have failed to pay the signature bonus for their respective equity participation have expired by operations of law, and such have reverted to the bid basket due to effusion of  time for payment of the applicable Signature  Bonus”


The Commission accepts no responsibility or liability in respect of any action or activity by such potential awardees, their partners, associate, representative or previes in further pursuit of any consideration of award under the said MFBR”

It stated further that participants interested in fields where the potential awardees have failed to pay all the required signature bonuses will be pro-rated and the portion not paid for has automatically reverted to the bid basket and will be offered to reserve bidders in line with paragraph9(iii )of the MFBR Guidelines. “This is to ensure maximum participation of a wide cross section of Nigerians Eligible Reserve Bidders will be contacted shortly to provide proof of fund for payment of applicable Signature Bonus as basis for the issuance of potential award letters for equity participation taken back into the bid basket.”

Business Standards had earlier reported that Nigeria may not realize her dream as far as getting her crude oil production level increased through the Marginal Field Bid Rounds exercise that was carried out in 2020, because of lack of Transparency and corruption.

Already, according to industry sources, the winners or awardees are finding it difficult to raise money to finance the projects. The outcome of their consultations with financial institutions are favourable

The exercise was trailed by allegations of corruption is being scorned by financial institutions both local and international.

An official of one of the multinational financial institutions told our correspondent said that because the processes leading to the award of the acreage were not transparent and opaque, the financial institutions are avoiding some of the winners like plaque.

He said people that have no business in oil and gas were merged together as co-winners of the bid round, some of them he said can’t raise money for their licenses.

Some of those that claimed they won the bid round who approached institutional investors were turned according to him.

Many industry operators have complained that different people with different backgrounds were merged together as winners.

According to Eddy Wikina, former managing director of Treasure Resources, and External Relation manager of Shell Nigeria Explorations and Production Company, he said the former DPR merged about 3 to 5 companies together as winners, a situation he described as very absurd.

The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) recently announced plans to close out the 2020 marginal field bid round programme in line with the Petroleum Industry Act 2021 (PIA).

This follows what the organization described as successful completion of the marginal oilfield bid and the issuance of award letters to successful investors.

The Chief Executive Officer of NUPRC, Gbenga Komolafe,  said it has equally put in place all necessary machinery to progress the bid round exercise to a conclusion.

Komolafe revealed that the commission has already set up an in-house work team to deal with outstanding issues which include distilling and addressing the concerns of awardees with a view to close out issues affecting multiple awardees per asset.

The NUPRC boss said these issues also involved the formation of Special Purpose Vehicles (SPV) by awardees in line with the respective letters of award.

Consequently, he said the Commission had enjoined awardees with the indicated issues to avail themselves of the resolution mechanism provided in the overriding national interest.

He also stated that the Commission was collaborating with leaseholders to agree on transition mechanisms in line with the PIA and the aspirations of government for the marginal field bid round exercise.

Komolafe, who explained that the 45 days period for payment of signature bonus by successful awardees as stipulated by the Marginal Field Guidelines has lapsed, however, assured those who have fully paid their signature bonuses that it would ensure that all guidelines were implemented.

The bid round which began on June 1, 2020, came about 18 years after the last similar exercise in 2003 and was opened to indigenous oil & gas companies and investors interested in participating in the exploration and production business in Nigeria.

The 2021 Marginal Field Bid Rounds concluded with 57 marginal field assets awarded to 161 companies by the Department of Petroleum Resources (“DPR”) in what was the 2nd bid round since 2002/2003.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *