The federal government and its joint venture partners will proceed with the $13.5 billion Zabazaba Deepwater project located in Oil Prospecting Lease (OPL) 245 despite the controversies that have rocked the oil block, Daily Trust reports.

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, said this yesterday in Houston Texas, United States. Kachikwu, who spoke in a briefing with reporters, said the project would go on as scheduled with the joint venture partners, Shell and Nigerian Agip Exploration Limited (NAE). The Zabazaba Deepwater is a greenfield offshore licence block located in the controversial OPL 245 in the eastern portion of the Niger Delta. It has about 9 billion barrels of crude oil and is said to be the largest oil block in Africa.

Malabu Oil & Gas Limited recently filed a motion at the Federal High Court in Abuja, seeking to stop the Federal Government from entering into any agreement with any person in respect of Zabazaba Deep water project.  The minister, however, said the protracted dispute on the block with Malabu oil would not affect the signing of final agreements with investors, adding that the project would not be flagged down on the back of the dispute.