The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, said the Federal Government revoked the licence for the Atala marginal oilfield (OML 46) because it was dormant in the hands of the Bayelsa State Government for 17 years.
Sylva, a former governor of Bayelsa, expressed surprise that such a valuable asset with huge economic potential was not exploited by the state government for the betterment of the state for those number of years after securing the licence.
He spoke at a meeting of stakeholders, chiefs and youths which was organised by his ministry in conjunction with the state government in Yenagoa, the state capital.
The Department of Petroleum Resources had in April 2020 announced the revocation of 11 of the 13 marginal oilfields licences it had issued to indigenous oil companies and this affected Atala oilfield owned by the Bayelsa government.
In December 2020, the state government said it was pursuing revalidation of the OML 46 licence.
The minister said that Bayelsa held OML 46 since 2003 and also secured renewal of licence after it expired but no benefits accrued to the state from the investment throughout the period.