Nigerian exploration and production (E&P) operators have said that the federal government lost an estimated $6 billion as a result of the Department of Petroleum Resources’ (DPR) poor administration of the expiring oil blocks, which were sold by the international oil companies (IOCs) between 2010 and 2015 to local firms, THISDAY reports.

Speaking in Lagos recently at the maiden edition of the Aspen Energy Roundtable, the chief executive of Seplat, Mr. Austin Avuru and the Managing Director of ND Western, Dr. Layi Fatona, argued that 60% of the $10.404 billion paid by the local operators to acquire assets from the IOCs would have gone into the federal government treasury if the DPR had better managed the licences covering the divested oil blocks. They however stated that all hope is not lost, as the country could earn over $3 billion from the next wave of asset sales if the DPR manages it properly.

In her response, the Head of Upstream Monitoring and Regulation at DPR, Pat Maseli admitted that the regulatory agency was not prepared for the divestment programme at the outset but that the agency had learnt its lesson and was preparing guidelines for the future. She added that the agency had also learnt its lessons in the marginal bid rounds and would ensure that rent seekers were not involved in the future.