OrderPaperToday – The Senate ad-hoc committee investigating alleged local content and cost variation breaches in the $16 billion Egina Deep Sea Oil Project has discovered that an unqualified firm, NOV Oil and Gas Nigeria Limited, received a N50 billion contract from Total Upstream Nigeria Limited.
According to the committee, the contract goes against the Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act of 2010.
This was discovered when the Managing Director of NOV Oil and Gas Nigeria Limited, Mr. Bertrand Huet appeared before the committee to provide a brief on its initial contract from Total Upstream Nigeria Limited of $163 million. This amount was later changed to $200million (N50billion).
The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Solomon Adeola made this known in a statement issued by his Media Adviser, Mr. Kayode Odunaro on Thursday.
Sen. Adeola indicated that upon investigating the basis of document submitted by the company, Total Upstream, NAPIMS and the Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Development Board ( NCDMB ), Mr. Huet, a French citizen, admitted that the Federal Government was not a shareholder in the company and that he is the sole owner.
Based on this, the lawmaker noted that Mr. Huet’s statement “completely disqualified the company from getting such contract in the oil and gas sector of the Nigerian economy.”
He noted that by the NOGICD Act of 2010, all companies like Nov Oil and Gas operating in Nigeria oil and gas sector must have a shareholding of 51% for Nigerians and 49% for others, before they can receive approval from the NCDMB, the regulatory body on Local Content Law.
He also revealed that the company was solely incorporated to block some aspects of the Egina Project, which should have been completed by Nigerians.
Sen. Adeola said: “There is need to unveil the true identity of NOV Oil and Gas and its operations in Nigeria. Once that is done to ascertain that the company has not breached Nigeria laws in its ownership structure, we can then go into the suspicious variation of its contract from $163 million to $202million and related matter of non-adherence to Local Content law that denied Nigerian opportunity for training, capacity building and transfer of technology.”
Adeola insisted that as representatives of the people, “members of the committee will not allow any foreigner to do what they cannot do in their countries in Nigeria or to engage in practices that do not meet international best practices thereby short-changing the people of Nigeria.”
The chairman of the committee also revealed that two similar companies involved in the Egina Project, AVEON, and GILS Automation, did not appear before the committee.
In conclusion, he threatened that the Senate would order the arrest of the Chief Executives of said companies, if they do not show up in 24 hours.
He said: “The companies should not allow the Senate to invoke Sections 88 and 89 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic to order for a warrant of the arrest of the Chief Executives of these companies.”