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Nigeria - Apply for Oil Exploration Licenses (OELs)

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The Minister of Petroleum Resources is in charge of the Department of Petroleum Resource with overreaching regulatory powers, and responsibility for the granting of rights for the exploration, extraction and production of oil and gas in Nigeria either through:

  • The issuance of oil exploration licences (OELs),
  • Oil prospecting licences (OPLs) and
  • Oil mining leases (OMLs).
  • Other contractual arrangements, such as production sharing contracts (PSCs) and service agreements or service contracts (SCs).
  • Consent to the assignment of licences and contractual interests in oil and gas assets

Procedure to obtain a Oil Exploration Licence,
  • There are five steps you will take to get registered for a Oil Exploration License.
Step one

This stage involves making an application on the headed paper of your company to the minister of petroleum resources requesting for oil exploration license or lease indicating the sufficient technical knowledge and experience, and sufficient financial resources to effectively operate Oil exploration.

Step two

Take the copy of the application and person payee ID to the nearest designated bank to pay for the registration Application form. There is an option to pay online with your ATM card the registration fees.

Step Three

After, Attach all the necessary document which include (company certificate of registration, profile of directors,Bank statement, Partnering organization or firm in exploration,Proof of technical experience from previous work in oil exploration, location of the Business,telephone contact, Email address or website of the business, Mission and objectives of the organization,Etc. proof of payment of registration.Take you application to the department of petroleum resource Registration department.

Step Four

Take your Filled application form to the Federal ministry of petroleum Resource department of registration for exploring oil center, alongside the original copies of your company details, particulars of refree (a valid company license, insurance certificate, proof of ownership the Business and certificate of compitence) for verification. Here your Details and particulars of the organization will be uploaded into the database.

Step Five

After successful capturing of your details into the database, a temporary slip will be printed for you as a proof of your registration pending the readiness of your Application, for approval or rejection depending on the decision of the Board.

When the Minister of Petroleum Resources is satisfied with all work done and the reports submitted by the licensee.Then he permits in writing the Department Petroleum Resource to grant a license of Oil exploration to the Applicant. After the Board decision You will receive an sms or a call or email notifying that your oil exploration license is ready for pickup at the Federal ministry of Petroleum resources where you registered.

Note 1

The Minister of Petroleum Resources is responsible for making regulations on matters relating to oil prospecting licences (OPLs) and oil mining leases (OMLs), including matters relating to safe working, enquiries into accidents and the prevention of pollution of water courses and the atmosphere/

The License for oil exploration is granted by the Minister who depends on the recommendation of the Directors General of the Department Petroleum Resource Institutions and in accordance with guidelines, impose special terms and conditions that are to be followed in oil exploration: The minister consider the following to take a decision of issuing a license,

  • (a) participation by the Federal Government in the venture to which the license or lease relates, on terms to be negotiated between the Minister and the applicant for the license or lease; and
  • (b) exploitation of any natural gas discovered.

If the applicant is not inconsistent with the provisions of the Act on any license or lease to which the Act applies, including terms and conditions as stated in the Act then the license can be revoked.

Note 11

Ownership of land does not confer title to the petroleum resources in the subsoil. The entire ownership and control of petroleum resources remains vested in the Federal Government of Nigeria(FGN.

The oil exploration license does not apply to any indigenous company operating in the upstream sector whose aggregate production is less than or equal to fifty thousand barrels per day of crude oil or natural gas equivalent.

Every process needed to process the license must be followed to the later.First, know that Oil exploration can only be valid based on the consent of the Minister of petroleum resources and the applicant fulfilling the following conditions:

  • Is of good reputation, a member of a group of companies of good reputation, or is owned by a company or companies of good reputation.
  • Has sufficient technical knowledge and experience, and sufficient financial resources to effectively operate under the licence or lease.

for renewal is made at least three months before the date of expiry of the license.

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Required Documents[edit]

  • A completed Application Form
  • A copy of Certificate of Incorporation
  • A Certified true Copy of Memorandum and Articles of Association.
  • A Certified True copies of Form C.07/CAC2.3/CAC7
  • A bank Draft Drawn in the favour of the Federal Government of Nigeria
  • A copy of bank Draft
  • A Copy of Current Tax Clearance Certificate.
  • A VAT Certificate
  • A Company Profile
  • A comprehensive Staff List and Curriculum Vitea of the key Staff,
  • A List of Equipments facility to the company.
  • DRP Endorsed Request for Expatriate Quota
  • Training Program for Nigerian Staff
  • Registration by relevant for professional body
  • A copy of technical agreement of MOU with Nigerian company/DPR Accredited laboratory.
  • Current Workmen s compensation policy.
  • Community Affairs,Safety, health Environment and security,
  • Copy of current Medical and Retainers-hip agreement with the Hospital or clinic
  • Copy of company ID of staff handling for the company.

Office Locations & Contacts[edit]

Please list down the office locations that can be approached for applying. External links can also be used for specifying office locations.

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All companies and other stakeholders who wish to explore for Oil and gas services in Nigeria.

Any company qualified under terms and conditions prescribed from time to time by the relevant Institutions is free to apply for the grant or award of a license, lease or contract, as the case may be, for the exploration and production of petroleum to the Management of Petroleum Resources.


Application fees, rents and royalties are payable in relation to OELs, OPLs and OMLs. Under the Petroleum Act the application fee for an Oil Petroleum Licence is US$10,000 and the application fee for an OML is US$500,000. Other fees payable include:

  • Processing fees.
  • Fees payable on the application for renewal of an OML.
  • Fees payable on the assignment of an OPL or OML.


There is no definitive timeline in either the Environmental Impact Assessments Act or EGASPIN in relation to the Environmental impact assessments (EIA) process. The time frame typically depends on several variables, such as the nature of the project, its location and the Department of Petroleum Resource's turnaround time.

Documents to Use[edit]

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Sample Documents[edit]

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Processing Time[edit]

The process takes between 1-3 months.

Related Videos[edit]

Videos explaining the procedure or to fill the applications. 
Attach videos using the following tag <&video type="website">video ID|width|height<&/video&> from external websites.
Please remove the "&" inside the tags during implementation.
Website = allocine, blip, dailymotion, facebook, gametrailers, googlevideo, html5, metacafe, myspace, revver, 
sevenload, viddler, vimeo, youku, youtube
width = 560, height = 340, Video ID = Can be obtained from the URL of webpage where the video is displayed.
e.g In the following url "" Video ID is "Y0US7oR_t3M". 

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  1. Applicants must appear in person.
  2. Applicant subjected to future evaluation by relevant division/ department
  3. Company that fail to renew their permit for more than three years consecutive years have their Licence treated as new.

Required Information[edit]

  • A copy of bank Draft
  • A Copy of Current Tax Clearance Certificate.
  • A VAT Certificate
  • A Company Profile
  • A comprehensive Staff List and Curriculum Vitea of the key Staff,
  • A List of Equipments facility to the company.
  • DRP Endorsed Request for Expatriate Quota
  • Training Program for Nigerian Staff
  • Registration by relevant for professional body
  • A copy of technical agreement of MOU with Nigerian company/Department of Petroleum Resource Accredited laboratory.
  • Current Workmen s compensation policy.

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Need for the Document[edit]

Although there is no private ownership of the oil and gas in Nigeria, the Government permits private individuals to own rights to prospect, explore and mine for oil and gas.Oil exploration licence (OEL) This is the licensee to the non-exclusive right to explore for oil and gas within the area of the grant.

This License confers exclusive rights of surface and subsurface exploration for the production of petroleum in an area not more than 2590 sq. km. (1000 sq.miles) in size.

The OPL shall be granted in inland basins for an initial period of three (3) years with the option of renewal for a maximum period of two (2) years. For the deep water blocks and frontier basins the exploration period is ten (10) years, broken into two five year periods which automatically roll over unless otherwise withdrawn due to nonperformance.

This control of the oil and gas industry is exercised through Government institutions such as the:

  • Ministry of Petroleum (Ministry).
  • Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).
  • Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
  • The Department of Petroleum Resources is principally responsible for processing all applications for licences and leases in the oil and gas industry.
  • Third parties are allowed to acquire participating or working interests in mineral rights through joint operating agreements (JOAs). Farm outs are also allowed for the assignment of part of mineral rights or a participating interest for the performance of obligations.
  • The Ministry of Petroleum (Ministry) has primary supervisory oversight over the oil and gas industry. As such, the Ministry is responsible for the formulation, implementation and co-ordination of government policy for the industry.

Information which might help[edit]

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Other uses of the Document/Certificate[edit]

Please explain what are other uses of obtaining this document/certificate.
e.g. Birth Certificate can be used as proof of identity.

External Links[edit]

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