…Exonerates Jonathan, Alison-Madueke
Aiteo Limited, One Of The Companies Contracted In The Crude Swap Arrangement With Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Has Declared That It Has Engaged Its Nigerian Solicitors And Global Legal Counsel To Determine Legal Actions Against Sahara Reporters And Another National Newspaper For Libelous And Spurious Publications Against The Company.
Aiteo Limited, one of the companies contracted in the crude swap arrangement with Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has declared that it has engaged its Nigerian Solicitors and global legal counsel to determine legal actions against Sahara Reporters and another national newspaper for libelous and spurious publications against the company.
The company’s spokesman, Miss Aiki Odiawe, stated that the publications cooked spurious allegations about company and one of our founders, Mr. Benedict Peters as well as other key political figures in the country. She pointed out that allegations by Sahara Reporters that AITEO ‘apparently gulped down $150million’ under the crude swap contract and offshore processing agreement with Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) are not only baseless but also aimed to slur the name of the company.
The company also denied representing the interest of former President Goodluck Jonathan and the erstwhile Petroleum Minister, Mrs. Diezani Alison- Madueke, in the course of its business relationship with the NNPC. According to her, Aiteo “never at any point unfairly exploited its commercial relationship with NNPC under the SWAP or Offshore Processing Agreement (OPA) contracts” as alleged by the publications.
The company also said it has closed the crude swap and offshore processing contracts with NNPC following its entitlement to equity crude under a new upstream production joint venture operation with the corporation. It, in addition, faulted reports that it is was more than 20 cargoes in arrears on the deal, stating that it instead has nominated two cargo deliveries to fully liquidate any outstanding deliveries due to Pipeline and Products Marketing Company (PPMC) in fulfilment of outstanding obligation on the Duke Oil SWAP and contracts.
A statement by Miss Odiawe also has it that “none of AITEO directors or executive management officials has been charged of any offence in any court of law and nor has any restraint order been issued to curtail international travel of any company official.” The statement which trails a similar declaration by NNPC comes in response to reports in some sections of the media that security agencies have swooped on indicted officials of companies involved in crude oil swap arrangement with NNPC following investigations into allegations of sharp practices in the contracts.
Miss Odiawe stated that “AITEO’s participation in the programmes was premised upon AITEO having fulfilled all requirements precedent to being nominated and gaining the objective confidence of the Management of NNPC on its strong competence and ability to deliver on the said contracts as and when due.” She made it clear that company could not have exploited the commercial relationship with NNPC under the SWAP or OPA contracts, adding that “the Board of AITEO has taken the decision to wind down this Duke Oil SWAP and OPA contract promptly and bring its business relationship with Duke Oil to a closure.”
The UNOIN reports that Aiteo now operates Oil Mining Lease (OML) 29, a prolific oil and gas asset following a 45 percent equity purchased from Shell, TOTAL and ENI in October 2014 during a divestment programme by the Western oil majors. Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), another unit of NNPC, holds the remaining 55 percent on behalf of government.
OML 29 holds remaining reserves of 2.2 Billion barrels of oil equivalent (BOE), according to Shell estimates. The hydrocarbon fields in the acreage could deliver as much as 160,000 barrels of oil per day and 300 million standard cubic feet (Mscf/d), with focused, aggressive work programme. Following closure of the agreement, Miss Odiawe stated, Aiteo has decided to nominate two cargo deliveries to fully liquidate any outstanding deliveries due to PPMC.
“However, Should there still exist a deficit after reconciling positions, where there is an over delivery, PPMC will issue a credit note in favour of AITEO and if AITEO should have any outstanding this will either be deducted from on-going cash calls due AITEO from AITEO/ NNPC joint venture or an outright remittance as the case may be. The Board of AITEO has taken the decision to wind down this Duke Oil SWAP and OPA contract promptly and bring its business relationship with Duke Oil to a closure.”
In explaining the details of the OPA agreement with NNPC, Miss Odiawe stated that requires a reconciliation meeting to take place between the parties on a quarterly basis for all crude oil loaded and refined products delivered.
She added that the company was cooperating with security and anti-graft agencies on the “ongoing investigative exercise,” and expressed surprise that that “a matter of fact-find within the purview of the investigative agencies has now been sensationalized by various parties beyond proportion and largely out of context to mislead the public.
“AITEO to schedule a reconciliation meeting with PPMC during which it intends to reconcile the full OPA position to determine over-deliveries and under-deliveries as it relates to each party. “In light of this development, the fully reconciled position should be determined soon.”