Nigerian Govt to review ExxonMobil’s Erha and Total Egina oil projects …refutes allegations of stalling Projects
By Joseph BAMIDELE
ABUJA: The Management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC has announced plans to review the ExxonMobil’s Erha North Phase 2 and the Total’s Egina oil fields in order to take a second look at the high cost estimates of both projects and also shore up the federal governments take from the oil fields.
The Corporation has also aided eyebrows on media reports credited to some International Oil and Gas Companies; IOC’s accusing it of deliberately stalling the execution of some multi-billion dollar projects in the sector.
The NNPC held that it will not be stampeded or browbeaten into abandoning its firmly established process of contract award by what it termed calculated media blackmail ostensibly by the IOCs and other interested parties.
In a statement signed by the Acting Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Mr. Fidel Pepple it was noted that while the Industry concern is normally expected in the process leading to the award of major Oil and Gas Projects, “NNPC has an established procedure of contract and project approval which includes conduct of economic analysis to establish project viability and Federal Government’s take from investments in the upstream’’.
The Corporation explained that this procedure must be followed and IOC’s cannot stampede the Corporation into taking decisions that may be inimical to the nation because of their pecuniary interests.
On the claim that the NNPC has not held its periodic Group Executive Committee meetings to discuss some major projects like the TOTAL Egina deep offshore project and endorse same to NNPC Board for approval, the NNPC stated thus:
“This claim is untrue as GEC meetings are being held weekly or fortnightly. However, Erha North Phase 2 and Egina Project contracts have not been discussed yet at these meetings because NNPC Management is critically reviewing the overall economics of the project in view of their high cost estimates in order to establish their validity, maximize Federal Government’s take and ensure comparative price competitiveness vis-a-vis benchmarks.’’
On the allegation that the Group Executive Director, Exploration and Production of the NNPC, Engr. Abiye Membere was behind a phantom contract splitting attempt of the Egina Project just as he allegedly did with the previous Bonga Southwest project, the Corporation stated that such allegation is totally misplaced and untrue.
The NNPC informed that the alleged contract splitting of Bonga Southwest was never in the cards as there was never a time that SNEPCO proposed three Floating Production Storage Production offloading facility (FPSOs) for Bonga Field Development.
“Engr. Membere also did not scuttle Bonga Southwest/Aparo Project six years ago. He was the GM, PSC Division of NAPIMS in 2006 and helped to move forward the strategy for a leased FPSO project for Bonga Southwest /Aparo project. He was deployed from this position to another position in NNPC’s Engineering& Technical Directorate in 2007 during a routine Management re-organization exercise’’.
The Corporation explained that the said Bonga South/Aparo was recycled for concept re-evaluation in 2009 when dearth of bidders were recorded on the major packages at the technical stage and with a potential of only one bidder emerging to the commercial stage of the FPSO tender. “This decision to recycle Bonga was taken by NAPIMS Top Management and not Engr. Membere’.
Also on the report that the NNPC blamed lack of funding as the cause for the alleged lull in the execution of the project, the Corporation described the allegation as untrue and laughable. “This claim is untrue as there is no funding challenge in PSC because operators fund the investment 100 percent’’.
The NNPC Management stated that despite the spate of attacks, it remains focused on its core mandate of ensuring that the Federal Government and the Nigerian people derive maximum benefit from the proceeds of the nation’s hydrocarbon resources.
Some of the IOC’s contacted for their comments on the development declined.