Kayoed Oladele, chairman, House Committee on Wednesday harped on the need for Federal Government to immediate commence the review of all operating petroleum licence (OPL) contract agreement as part of efforts geared towards tackling the spate of corruption within the industry.
Oladele who gave the charge in Abuja during an interactive session with civil Society Organisation’s advocacy group on OPL 245 new expert evaluation, decried the scandal trailing the controversial oil licence.
Investigations conducted by oil industry experts showed that projected loss to the Nigeria variously at $4.5 billion, $6 billion, $9.8 billion and $10 billion based on lopsided Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) in the Oil Prospecting License (OPL) 245 granted Malabu Oil in 1988 by Federal Government.
“As you might recollect, this same House of Representatives in February 2014, after two years of investigation of circumstances surrounding the allocation of and subsequent transfer of the bloc,
ordered the cancellation of the sale of a lucrative oil bloc OPL 245 to oil firms, in what was considered ‘a shady deal facilitated with the payment of $1.1 billion’ to a former petroleum minister, Dan Etete.
“The House approved all nine recommendations ordering the cancellation of the deal, the drafting of a new agreement and the prosecution of officials found wanting.
“Again in November 2016, flowing from the failure of the Executive arm of government under the previous government to implement the recommendation of the 7th Assembly on the revocation of the licence that has attracted unprecedented embarrassment to the country, the current 8th Assembly constituted and mandated an Ad-hoc Committee of the House of Representatives to investigate the payment, benefits and loss to Nigeria in the deal.
“The decision was also reinforced by the realization that the $1.1 billion paid by Shell and Agip for OPL 245 was disguised as payment to the Federal Government, when it is a common knowledge that the only entitlement of the Federal Government in the award of oil bloc is Signature bonus, while the beneficiary of the award (in this case, Malabu), is entitled to the full value of the bloc ($1.1 billion) if it divests its stake,” he noted.
While expressing disgust over the new discoveries based on the outcome of the investigations conducted by world-class oil experts into the scandal to tune of $6 billion revenue loss to Nigeria, Oladele observed that the “discovery further confirms the ;position of the Green Chamber, even without an expert analysis of this nature. We have asserted and maintained that the deal was never in the interest of Nigeria and the Civil Society Organisations (HEDA, Globalwitness, Cornerhouse and re:Common) have vindicated the parliamentarians our position as standing up for the interest of the citizens and our country.
“While litigation is ongoing in Milan, Italy against Shell and ENI over charges of bribery with respect to the deal, there are emerging facts to the effect that correspondences in the domains of Shell and ENI show that the multinational companies were alerted ahead by Nigerian civil servants that the transaction was deceptive and that the terms contains clauses which ab-initio ought to have rendered the contract inappropriate.
“It is shocking to note, base on your expert analysis report, that information contained in the Resolution Agreement regarding OPL 245 which was signed in April 2011 and the Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) signed between ENI and Shell of 21 February 2012, projected resource output upon which the subsisting agreement was based is inconsistent with established industry-based standard reserve estimation techniques.
“The new discoveries on the OPL 245, based on your evaluation analysis, further show that ‘the fiscal terms that emerged from the Resolution Agreement of 2011 and the PSA signed between ENI and Shell in 2012 are not consistent with the essence of a normal production sharing system’.
According to him, the controversial terms on OPL 245 compromises Nigeria’s potential revenue from the oil bloc considering that the contract is hugely at variance with terms on which Shell had been awarded licence for the same oil bloc in 2003.
In his remarks, Olanrewaju Suraj, HEDA’s Director, urged President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to revoke the oil bloc.
Suraj said: “Nigerians established that this is absolutely a corrupt process and you all know you can’t build something unlawful and this is a criminal process, no matter how beautiful the product is you can’t make it sacrosanct.
“Secondly, the constitution in Nigeria as at 1998, when that allocation was done by the former Minister of Petroleum Resources Dan Etete to himself, a sitting Minister, the constitution says you cannot benefit from a process as a public office holder which you superintend and the punishment for that in that constitution is that the Government will recover whatever benefit you get from that.
“It is under the code of conduct for public office holder, everything will be recovered and sent to the Federal government.
“That 245 license granted to Malabu in 1998, when Etete was the Minster and was a shareholder in Malabu was a process that is null and void, based on the constitutional provision,” he urged.
KEHINDE AKINTOLA, Abuja
Tags: OPL 245