October 20, 2015

NNPC denies involvement in $25m failed oil block deal

NNPC denies involvement in $25m failed oil block deal


By Michael Eboh & Ediri Ejoh
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Tuesday, dissociated itself from the $25 million failed oil block bid deal by an Indian company, Oil and Natural Gas Corp-Mittal Energy Limited.

This was even as the Federal Government disclosed that it has reached an agreement with Ghana on the modalities to settle the outstanding N33.8 billion owed by the Volta River Authority (VRA) on gas supplied for power generation by a Nigerian company, N-Gaz.



Commenting on the failed oil block bid deal, the NNPC, in a statement signed by its Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Mr. Ohi Alegbe, stated that attempts to link it with the transaction smacked of ignorance of the workings of the Nigerian oil and gas industry.

He said, “Our attention has been drawn to the repeated reports linking the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation with the failed attempt by a certain Indian company, Oil and Natural Gas Corp-Mittal Energy Limited (OMEL), to acquire an oil block during the 2006/2007 oil bid round and the consequent failure to get a refund of the funds it committed to the deal.

“We wish to clarify that NNPC is not the statutory body saddled with the responsibility of organizing bid rounds and so could not have received the alleged amount of $25 million or any payment from OMEL for the transaction.

“We find the deliberate attempt to drag NNPC into the various allegations surrounding the transaction as mischievous and unfortunate. We urge those who are interested in the story to seek clarification with the relevant agencies responsible for conducting bid rounds and to whom OMEL may have paid the alleged fee.”

FG, Ghana reach agreement over gas debt

Also commenting on the resolution of the impasse with the Ghanaian authorities, Alegbe stated that the highlight of the agreement is that the total sum of gas supply debt will be cleared by February 2016 at the latest.

He said the agreement which was reached on Monday between a team led by the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr. Ibe Kachikwu, and the President of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama, stipulated that VRA will pay the balance of August and September invoices by October 31 at the latest.

According to him, it was also agreed that all other supplies as from October will be paid for on or before due date while the backlog of arrears from 2012 will be defrayed by February 2016.

He said, “It would be recalled that Nigeria had threatened to cut gas supply to Ghana by 70% over a $181 million debt that had accumulated over the years.

The Ghanaian Minister of Power, Dr. Kwabena Donkor, had led a delegation to Abuja last week to hold talks with Nigerian authorities with a view to resolving the issue.

N-Gaz is a joint venture company owned by NNPC, Shell and Chevron that delivers gas through the West African Gas Pipeline Company (WAGPCo) to Ghana.