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Take Over Operation Of OML 11 From Shell, Buhari Orders NNPC |RN

Buhari-on-microphone                                                     President Muhammadu Buhari

Okechukwu Nnodim, Abuja

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation to take over the operatorship of the entire Oil Mining Lease 11 from Shell Petroleum Development Company.

According to a letter from State House, Abuja,  to the Group Managing Director of NNPC, dated March 1, 2019, with reference number SH/COS/24/A/8540 and signed by the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, the President’s directive was clearly stated that the entire operatorship of OML 11 should be taken over by the NNPC/Nigeria Petroleum Development Company not later than April 30, 2019.

NPDC is the flagship oil exploration and production subsidiary of the NNPC and the liaison office of the company acknowledged receipt of the letter on March 5, 2019.

The letter from the Presidency to the NNPC, which had its title as, ‘Operatorship of Entire Oil Mining Lease 11,’ read in part, “Kindly note that the President has directed NNPC/NPDC to take over the operatorship, from Shell Petroleum Development Company, of the entire OML 11 not later than 30 April 2019, and ensure smooth re-entry given the delicate situation in Ogoniland.”

It added that the President has “directed NNPC/NPDC to confirm by 2 May 2019, of the assumption of the operatorship.”

OML 11 lies in the southeastern Niger Delta and contains 33 oil and gas fields of which eight are producing as per 2017. In terms of production, it is one of the most important blocks in Nigeria.

The terrain is swampy to the south with numerous rivers and creeks. Port Harcourt is located in the northwest of the block, while the major yard and logistics base at Onne is located by the Bonny River. The Bonny oil terminal – the largest in Nigeria – and Nigeria LNG (NLNG) are both located at Bonny.

When contacted, the Media Relations Manager, Shell Nigeria, Bamidele Odugbesan, declined to comment on the matter, as he specifically told our correspondent that he would not speak on the issue.

The Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, NNPC, Ndu Ughamadu, also did not answer his telephone when contacted and had yet to respond to a text message on the matter up till the time of filing this report.

It was, however, gathered from sources at the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources in Abuja that there were four partners in the OML 11 joint venture.

“If you are talking about that operatorship, you are talking about a joint venture where you have four partners and you can pick any of the partners to run the asset on behalf of others. And whoever runs the asset will account to the partners when it comes to the sharing table,” a source at the FMPR said.

The source added, “So if you look at some deep water projects or if you look at the OPL 245, that is Zabazaba for instance, it is operated by Agip but Shell has 50 per cent stake in it. So if tomorrow Agip says it does not want to operate the asset anymore and asks Shell to come and operate it, that won’t change anything. Rather it is only the operatorship that will change.”

It was also gathered that the NNPC owns 55 per cent shares in the OML 11 partnership, while Shell, Total and Agip own 30, 15 and five per cent respectively in the joint venture.

Officials at the FMPR stated that the operatorship of the asset, based on the latest directive of the President, had moved from Shell to NPDC, the flagship oil exploration and production subsidiary of the NNPC.

Industry players further explained that whoever operated an OML on behalf of partners would bring in its expertise and that the NPDC had such capacity right now.

They noted that what was transferred to NNPC, based on Buhari’s order, was basically the operatorship of the OML and not the shares of the partners in the joint venture.

Our correspondent further gathered that Shell had not produced a drop of crude oil from Ogoniland for about five years and that partners were not earning revenue as a result of this.

“So if another partner is willing to run the asset, I think he should be allowed to try. Four persons own an asset and it is being run by owner number one and owner number one is not able to run the asset for several years, you can try owner number two. That’s what is happening,” another source said.  (Punch)

 

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Malabu Oil Deal: UK Group Alleges $523m Went To Ex-President Fronts |The Republican News

 Yusuf Alli, AbujaImage result for Dan Etete

A United Kingdom anti-corruption group, Global Witness, has alleged that about $523million of the $1.1billion paid by Shell and Eni for Malabu Oil Block (OPL 245) went to some fronts of a former President.

It said the deal deprived the country of a sum equivalent to 80% of its 2015 health budget in a country where more than 60% of the population live in poverty.

The group made the disclosures in a statement by its Director, Simon Taylor.

It also wrote a letter to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) not to waiver in its determination to probe the sale of the oil block.

But Global Witness said prosecutors in the UK have alleged that about $523million out of $1.1billion was paid to the fronts of a former President.

The statement said: “We applaud the Nigerian authorities for fighting back against corruption without fear or favour, making sure there are real consequences for taking part in shady deals like with OPL 245.”

“The lucrative OPL 245 oil block was allocated in 1998 for $20m – a fraction of its value now – to Malabu Oil & Gas, a company secretly owned by the then oil Minister, Etete.

“The OPL 245 block, off the coast of Nigeria is owned 50-50 by Shell and Eni and contains probable reserves of 9.23 billion barrels of oil, representing potentially massive bookable reserves for the companies.

“Shell currently holds 11.75 billion barrels of proven oil equivalent reserves and Eni holds 6.89 billion barrels of proven oil equivalent reserves.

“The block was eventually passed on to Shell and Eni in 2011 in exchange for a payment of $1.1bn which flowed to Malabu rather than to the Nigerian state.

“The former Minister of Justice, Adoke by his own account acted as a broker in the deal. This deal deprived the country of a sum equivalent to 80 per cent of its 2015 health budget in a country where more than 60 per cent of the population live in poverty.

”Shell and Eni have always denied that they knew the money they paid would go to Malabu, but documents seen by Global Witness show that the companies in fact constructed the deal knowing that the money would flow ultimately to Malabu.

“Prosecutors in the UK have previously alleged that $523m of Shell and Eni’s payment went to alleged “fronts for former President of Nigeria (names withheld) as part of a deal that was effectively a “smash and grab” on Nigeria.

In a separate letter, the group praised the Acting EFCC chairman, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, for the “sterling investigatory work” by the commission on the Malabu oil deal.

The letter said Global witness was “ delighted to read press reports that Adoke, Etete and others have been implicated  by the EFCC for fraud and money laundering in respect of the OPL 245 oil deal.

The letter added: “We would like to take this opportunity to reiterate our admiration for the sterling investigatory work by the EFCC, under your leadership, that has brought this case to court.

“We believe that the case will send a powerful message to the world that Nigeria is intent on prosecuting corruption without fear or favour.”

The anti-corruption group however noted the reactions of some key actors in the Settlement Agreement on the oil block.

It added: “In a statement, Mohammed Adoke said: “I hope to at the appropriate time make myself available to defend the charge for what whatever its worth,” he also emphasized that he did not benefit from the deal, which he said saved the government from a breach of contract suit in which Shell was claiming $2 billion.

“He called the charges “orchestrated plans to bring me to public disrepute in order to satisfy the whims and caprices of some powerful interests on revenge mission.”

“Shell has insisted that they did not pay Malabu directly and that all payments went to an escrow account held by the Government of Nigeria.

“In a response to a request for comment from Global Witness in April 2015, Shell said: ‘We do not agree with the premise behind various public statements made by Global Witness about Shell companies in relation to OPL 245.’ It has not responded to more recent requests to comment.

Eni responded to questions on the deal in May 2016 saying: “Independent enquiries and the investigations commissioned by Eni’s Watch Structure and Board of Statutory Auditors from specialized American law firms have found no evidence of illegal conduct on the part of the Company.”

Antonio Tricarico said: “The Italian Government must ask serious questions of the involvement of Senior Eni executives in a deal that has now lead to senior Nigerian officials being charged with criminal offences.”  (The Nation)

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Ex-Minister, Dan Etete, Others, Set For Trial In Italy |The Republican News

 Our Reporter

Image result for dan etete

Former Minister of Petroleum, Mr. Dan Etete

 

Former Minister of Petroleum Dan Etete is to be arraigned in Italy over his alleged involvement in the $1.1billion Malabu oil deal.

Last week, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) slammed  a seven-count charge of money laundering and fraud on Mr. Etete and others at the Federal High Court in Abuja.

The Italian prosecutors have filed the notice in a Milan court, accordin g to Premium Times.

Apart from Etete, another Nigerian, Chukwuemeka Obi, is among the 11 individuals to be charged by the Italian authorities. Shell and Eni are also to be sued to take the defendants to 13. Mr. Obi and his firm, EVP, had laid claim to about $110 million of the $1.1 billion paid by Shell and Eni for OPL 245, considered Nigeria’s richest oil block.

The money is trapped in Switzerland where it has been frozen by a court.

Mr. Obi sued Malabu for $110 million in London, which he said was his entitlement for helping to facilitate the deal between the oil majors and Malabu.

In July 2013, the High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division, presided over by Lady Justice Gloster, ruled in favour of Mr. Obi that he was entitled to “a fee of 8.5% of the total disposal consideration of $1.3 billion”.

Following the court’s ruling, the money was transferred to EVP’s Swiss accounts. However, Italian authorities who had by then started investigating the fraudulent deal asked Swiss authorities to freeze the money where it has since remained.

Others found culpable by Italian authorities include: DescaJzi Claudio, the CEO of Eni; his predecessor, Paolo Scaroni; Roberto Casula, Armanna Vincenzo, Antonio Pagano, Ednan Agaev, Luigi Bisignani and Falcioni Gianfranco.

Italian prosecutors are also charging Eni and Royal Dutch Shell for their involvement in the deal as multinational firms.

As part of their findings, Italian prosecutors said officials of Italian oil giant Eni may have received $50 million bribe from the $1.1 billion the company and Shell paid into a Nigerian government account in 2011. (The Nation)

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