By Henry Umoru
ABUJA—FRESH ABUJA—FRESH troubles appear to be looming for the Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Mr. Maikanti Baru, as the Senate has begun a probe into alleged revocation of OML 13 and re-award to Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, a subsidiary of NNPC, through executive fiat.
The Senate is also summoning Managing Director of Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, SPDC, over its involvement in the revocation of the OML 13 and its re-award without going the statutory licensing bid rounds.According to the Senate, it has become imperative to carry out a holistic investigation into the revocation as Nigeria cannot afford another Malabu OPL 245 scandal as the country struggles to navigate away from recession.
Speaking, yesterday, in Abuja during a sitting by the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions on a petition by National Coordinator, Global Peace and Sustainability Network, Chief Longers Anyanwu, Chairman of the Committee, Senator Samuel Anyanwu (PDP, Imo East), warned that the Senate would issue a warrant of arrest on the Managing Director of SPDC, if he failed to appear.
He said the warrant of arrest would come against the backdrop of the SPDC Chief Executive’s failure to honour three previous summons, warning that the Senate would do everything possible to block all the conduit pipes being used to syphon the nation’s resources.Anyanwu said though there was nothing wrong in inviting foreign investors, the action must not kill or swallow indigenous companies.
Earlier in his presentation, National Coordinator of Global Peace and Sustainability Network, Chief Longers Anyanwu, explained that OML 13 was an Onshore oil block on the Eastern Niger Delta and had an acreage of 1,923Sq.m.He also said OML 13 played hosts to Utapate South and Ibibio fields as well as a string of producing marginal fields, including Frontier oil- operated Uquo, a gas accumulation and the 2,000BOPD Qua Iboe.According to him, the OML 13 has a total number of thirty- nine oil wells, with a production capacity of about 33,500 barrels of oil equivalent per day, adding that it was made up of Oil Prospecting Licence(OPL ) 2001, 2002 abs 2003.
He said: “The said OML 13 was sometime between February and Mach 2016, revoked and awardee to Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, a subsidiary abs the production arm of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC through executive fiat and without going through the statutory Licensing Bids Rounds.“ Curiously, this OML 13 which was awarded to the NPDC through an executive fiat has been re-awarded to to Sterling Oil Exploration and Energy Production Company, SEEPCO, without as much as this offer going through an open tender abs the advertisement of a Licensing Bids Round by the relevant authorities.
“It is evident that this transaction is shrouded in mystery and under the table circumstances. Hence, it is the intention of this Petition to compel the Senate to use its position to cause a full scale inquiry into this ambiguous transaction.“From our investigation. we are able to establish that NPDC and SEEPCO could not produce evidence of fair play, either in the award of OML 13 or, in the unlikely circumstance. ‘’In the award of a contract of Farm Out Farm In by the NPDC to SEEPCO as stipulated by the extant Nigerian laws regulating operations in the oil and gas industry and the Public Procurement Act which regulates the activities of agencies defined in the Act as procuring agents.”Longers Anyanwu, who called for outright cancellation and a reversal of the entire process, said further:
“It was shrouded in fraudulent and corrupt processes and never complied with the laid-down procedure contained in the extant Laws, Regulations and Guidelines established for operations in the oil and gas industry.“Global Peace and Sustainability Network. an organization that is committed to transparency and accountability in all spheres of national life is not comfortable with the circumstances surrounding the divestment and reallocation/Farm Out of OML 13 to SEEPCO. in the interest of national progress and economic development, and to foster a sense of accountability in the psyche ot Nigerians as a people.
‘’We, therefore, make the following demands: ‘’Thorough investigation of the OML 13 transaction from the point when SPDC was divested of its interest in the Lease to the present, particularly, the period following the award of the Lease to NPDC and its subsequent assignment or Farm Out (whichever is applicable) to Sterling Oil Exploration and Energy Production Company, SEEPCO.“That all the participants in this shoddy deal be identified, investigated, prosecuted and severely punished according to the law as their conduct, actions and inactions amount to economic sabotage on the government and people of Nigeria.“Nigerians demand to see that compliance with due advertisement is made for the Farm Out of OML 13.
Particularly, Nigerians would want to see transparent evidence of the process which shall include submission of application by interested companies; payment of the required application, processing and other fees into the stipulated accounts of the Federal Government of Nigeria; pre qualification of interested companies; detailed evidence of announcement of the pre-qualified companies and evidence of detailed technical and commercial bids by pre-qualified companies; evaluation and announcements of winning bids.”