ARCO-NAOC dispute: NCDMB finally summons NAOC MD, others

The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, NCDMB, on Monday finally summoned the Managing Director of Nigeria Agip Oil Company, NAOC, Massimo Insulla, over alleged breach of the local content law.

NCDMB’s spokesperson, Obinna Ezeobi gave the indication in a statement made available to PREMIUM TIMES.

This newspaper has exclusively reported how Agip and its JV partner, General Electric International Operations Nigeria, GEION, sidelined Arco Petrochemical Engineering Company, an indigenous oil and gas firm in the maintenance service contract of Obob, Kwale and Eboche Gas plants in the Niger Delta region.

However, when we sought to know whether the board was aware of the dispute between the indigenous firm and its foreign JV partners, the NCDMB claimed it never received any complaints on the matter.

In a recorded telephone conversation, Mr. Ezeobi told this newspaper, “We have not received any complaint from Arco on the matter you are talking about.

“If Arco has a case like the one you are talking about, it should have written to us and we could have been in a position to check whether there is an infringement of the Nigerian law.”

But PREMIUMT TIMES has since found that the aggrieved indigenous oil firm wrote to the NCDMB on May 9, 2013 and on June 3, complaining of attempts to sideline it by Agip and GEION in the stop-gap maintenance deal.

A third letter was sent on September 10, over a year after the first two letters were forwarded to the leadership of the board.

Apparently realizing that the board goofed by feigning ignorance of the three letters, Mr. Ezeobi issued a press statement to indicate that NAOC and other parties in the dispute have been invited to a meeting.

The statement reads, “The Nigeria Content Development Monitoring Board, NCDMB, has invited the Managing Director of Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC), Mr. Massimo Insulla to a meeting in relation to the ongoing business dispute between it and Arco Petroleum Engineering Company Limited over the maintenance of Obob/Ebocha/Kwale Gas plants.

“The invitation followed NCDMB’s receipt of a formal letter of complaint to it by Arco Petroleum on the matter dated September 10, 2014 wherein the company alleged among other things that NAOC and General Electric “are ganging up to forcibly remove an established indigenous contractor like Arco that can prove its mettle in the maintenance of such hi-tech equipment exclusively for six months.”

“Commenting on the intervention of the board, the Executive Secretary, NCDMB, Ernest Nwapa explained that the Board would continue to ensure that the provisions of the Nigerian Content Act are adhered to in relation to any contract or operation in the Oil and Gas industry.”

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