By Henry Umoru
ABUJA—THE Senate yesterday gave Total Upstream Nigeria Limited, TUNL one week to appear before it and supply detailed information with reference to Nigerian Content of its investment in a $16 billion deep sea offshore Egina oil Project of which it is currently the major contractor.
According to the Senate, the TUNL should furnish it with the status of the project, evidences of taxes paid, personnel employed and expatriate quota, qualifications and salaries of local and foreign staff and records of usage of locally fabricated items as pipes, plastics etc on the project.
The Senate particularly requested TUNL to supply more information on the project in relation to the implementation of Nigerian Local Content Act as well as evidence of over $1 billion taxes allegedly paid as part of an omnibus $4 billion “other expenses” by TUNL.
Meanwhile, the Senate Committee on Local Content, has expressed fear over the likelihood of Nigeria not reaping any real benefit from its investment in a $16Billion deep sea offshore Egina oil Project being majorly undertaken by Total Upstream Nigeria Limited, TUNL, and other sub contractors.
Speaking during the Committee’s interactive session with the Managing Director of TUNL, Mr. Nicolas Terraz, and his team, Chairman, Senate Committee on Local Content, Senator Solomon Adeola, said Nigeria might not derive any benefit from the project expected to produce 200,000 barrels per day for the next 25 years including capacity building.
According to him, even the huge sum that had so far been expended had not impacted on the local economy in contravention of the Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry Development Act, 2010.
Senator Adeola said, “From information at the Committee’s disposal, about $11 billion has been expended on the Egina project after some variation in the original cost of $6 billion leaving a balance of about $4 billion for the project expected to come on stream next year. For the next 25 years, Nigeria may not get any benefit from this huge project at all as by law relating to the depth of the offshore Floating Production Storage and Offloading ( FPSO) even royalty will not be paid to Nigeria within the period.”
In a presentation, Mr. Terraz said while he would not claim that the Egina Project was perfect, it had so far been executed as a pioneer project that would serve as a bench mark in the industry for others coming on stream.
Senators present at the sitting were Senator Abdullahi Gumel (Jigawa North west), Senator Sabi Abdulahi (Niger North), Senator Gershon Bassey(Cross River South), Senator Binta Masi Garba (Adamawa North) Senator Biodun Olujimi (Ekiti South), Senator Mallam Wakili (Bauchi State) and Sen Kabir Marafa (Zamfara Central).