Reps launch probe of debts allegedly owed by international oil firms

Members of the House of Reps
Members of the House of Reps

The House of Representatives has launched an investigation into the debts allegedly owed indigenous firms by International Oil Companies (IOCs).

The lawmakers are also probing alleged non-remittance of some statutory funds by the IOCs to the Nigerian government.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, and chief executive officers of all oil companies operating in the country are expected to appear before the ad-hoc committee.

Daniel Reyenieju (PDP, Delta), chairman of the committee, gave an update on its workings at the National Assembly on Thursday.

He expressed concerns over the failure of relevant regulatory agencies to take necessary actions toward recovering the debts from the IOCs.

“The ad-hoc committee is to investigate the operations of the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contractors Act (PSC) as it concerns the NNPC and IOCs, towards determining the reasons for the alleged loss of $21 billion; enquire why appropriate steps were not taken, promptly and over an inordinately long period, to remedy the situation which led to the loss and possibly recover the revenue lost.

“Accordingly, the House requires the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources to provide it with details of financial transactions between the NPC and IOCs during the period.

“Review the PSC, the Joint Operating Agreement and other relevant agreements, with a view to regularising all the anomalies that might have led to the loss of revenue. Investigate the huge debts being owed local companies and indigenous contractors by international oil and gas companies with a view to ensuring that such debts are recovered and paid promptly.”

The House of Representatives had on July 19 mandated the ad-hoc committee to investigate the processes of marginal oil fields acquisition; the financial proceeds from successful bids, remittance and non-remittance of revenues by the licensed operators into the Federation Account.

The committee is also saddled with the responsibility of investigating the operations of licensed marginal fields operators; and the strategic alliance agreements between IOCs, investors and Nigerian Petroleum Development Company in the operations of divested oil and gas interest and marginal fields.

The committee beckoned on all IOCs, Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to furnish the House with records and all related documents in respect of the processes that transpired in the acquisition of marginal oil fields and the financial proceeds from the bids; details of operations of licensed marginal fields operators, the status of the strategic alliance with investors and local companies being owed, to furnish the committee with details of their respective transactions or contracts.

While speaking on regulatory agencies who failed to respond to previous invitations, Mr. Reyenieju threatened that the committee will be left with no option than to uphold the petitions before it if they fail to submit relevant documents on or before August 17.

According to him, the ad-hoc committee’s move was aimed at reaching “their consciousness and to let them know that the National Assembly as an arm of government, carries out checks and balances on government agencies and governmental affairs.”

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