Fresh $280m Oil Blocks Scandal Rocks Nigeria’s Oil Industry

A fresh crisis is rocking the nation’s oil industry over the ownership of a $280 million oil blocks, OPL 280/OML 143.

The scam is coming amid the raging controversy over the multi-billion dollar Oil Prospecting License (OPL) 245 otherwise called the Malabo oil deal that has culminated in a plethora of litigations.

Top former government functionaries have been on the spot over the Malabo oil deal said to be the largest in the country.

The latest scam is revealed in a petition, dated January 13, 2017, already tabled before the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).

A firm, Technical Systems Engineering Nigeria Limited, through a law firm of Silva Opusunju and Associates (Akoto Chambers), in the document,claimed it was denied of the OPL 280 oil blocs after the company was officially announced winner of the bid for the oil block

It disclosed that after due process, a number of intrigues began to emerge when the company was invited to concede a 10 per cent in local content participation, but only for it to discover that another firm had indeed been granted licence to commence operation on the oil blocks.

Part of the petition read: “Sometime in 2005, our client bided for OPL 280 during the 2006 Oil Blocks Licensing Rounds. There was no doubt whatsoever that if merit would be the criteria for evaluation of the bids and eventual award, then technical systems would be well disposed to winning the bid. This was because the packaging of its bid as submitted was technically sound and consistent with emerging trends in the Nigerian oil sector as well as meeting international standards and best practices. In addition, it offered a high Signature Bonus.

“Indeed when the bids were opened and processed, our client emerged victorious and was quite rightly announced the winner of OPL 280. Thereafter, it was notified of the minimum commitments and conditions for the award which included a Signature Bonus of $210, 000,000.

“Surprisingly and without due process, technical systems was subsequently informed that the (DPR) had re-awarded the Oil Block (OPL 280) to another company based…’instructions from above.’ As a result of this revelation, our client made several representations and protests to the NNPC and DPR against the injustice; and succeeded in extracting commitments from the oil executives reinstating the ward to it.

“We are further informed that after waiting for several months, the Director of DPR appealed to our client through its chairman, to accept a 10 per cent set aside as representing local content participation in the company they had unjustly re-awarded the block to. This proposal came with a commitment by the director to invite the parties (our client, NNPC/DPR and a new awardee) to consolidate the proposal on local content participation through some instrument of law. No further information was heard from either the GMD of NNPC of the director of DPR on the subject-matter to this day.

Despite pursuing its interest diligently, our client was very surprised to learn that OPL 280 had since the year 2010 commenced production on OML 143, operated by a ‘consortium’ of Sterling Oil Exploration & energy Co Ltd (SEEPCO). Allen Energy Ltd., and perhaps other affiliates; without its knowledge and participation.

“The following constitutes the summary of our understanding as discernible from our client’s instructions and the details of its transactions with NNPC/DPR:That our client was the rightful owner of OPL 280 as your records will indicate; that our client did not execute a Deed of Reassignment of OPL 280 to the benefit of any company, consortium or operators whatsoever; that our client is therefore entitled to all rights and proceeds from OPL 280 (OML 143) from the period of commencement of production of oil from the oil Block.

“We most humbly request the DPR to return OPL 280 to our client as the justified winner of the oil blocks licensing bids in 2005; or in the alternative, the perfection and actualization of the 10 per cent local content participation as earlier proposed by the NNPC/DPR.”

Author: NewsAdmin

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