Another oil block scam rocks Nigeria’s oil industry

The Nigeria oil industry is on the brink of another major scandal as a firm, technical systems Engineering Nigeria Limited has petitioned the Department of Petroleum Resources over the ownership of a $280 million oil blocks, OPL 280/OML143

The scam is coming amid the raging controversy over the multi-billion dollar Oil Prospecting License (OPL) 245 otherwise called the Malabo oil deal that has culminated in a plethora of litigations.

In the petition made available to National Daily, the firm, through a law firm of Silva Opusunju and Associates (Akoto Chambers) claimed it was denied of the OPL 280 oil blocs after the company was officially announced winner of the bid for the oil block.

“Sometime in 2005, our client bided for OPL 280 during the 2006 Oil Blocks Licensing Rounds. When the bids were opened and processed, our client emerged victorious and was quite rightly announced the winner of OPL 280. Thereafter, it was notified of the minimum commitments and conditions for the award which included a Signature Bonus of $210, 000, 000,” the petition reads.

“Surprisingly and without due process, technical systems was subsequently informed that the (DPR) had re-awarded the Oil Block (OPL 280) to another company based…’instructions from above.’ As a result of this revelation, our client made several representations and protests to the NNPC and DPR against the injustice; and succeeded in extracting commitments from the oil executives reinstating the ward to it.”

“We are further informed that after waiting for several months, the Director of DPR appealed to our client through its chairman, to accept a 10 per cent   set aside as representing local content participation in the company they had unjustly re-awarded the block to. This proposal came with a commitment by the director to invite the parties (our client, NNPC/DPR and a new awardee) to consolidate the proposal on local content participation through some instrument of law. No further information was heard from either the GMD of NNPC of the director of DPR on the subject-matter to this day.

Despite pursuing its interest diligently, our client was very surprised to learn that OPL 280 had since the year 2010 commenced production on OML 143, operated by a ‘consortium’ of Sterling Oil Exploration & energy Co Ltd (SEEPCO). Allen Energy Ltd., and perhaps other affiliates; without its knowledge and participation.

The company in the petition therefore humbly request the DPR to  return OPL 280 to it as the justified winner of the oil blocks licensing bids in 2005; or in the alternative, the perfection and actualization of the 10 per cent local content participation as earlier proposed by the NNPC/DPR.