OrderPaperToday- The Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN) on Tuesday informed the Senate that indigenous technical oilfield service companies do not take legal action against international oil companies for non-payment of their dues because they do not want to be blacklisted.
The executive chairman of Petrology Group, Vincent Ebuh, who spoke on behalf of PETAN, stated this at an investigative hearing on breach of Nigerian laws by foreign vessel owners in coastal region and other related matters, organised by the joint committees on Local Content, Petroleum (Downstream) and legislative compliance.
The hearing followed a motion moved by Senator Olalekan Mustapha (APC, Ogun) in December 2019 on the need to investigate the flagrant abuse of the Nigerian Content (NOGICD) Act 2010 and Cabotage Act 2003 by operators and stakeholders in the Maritime Industry through ship to ship transfer with coastal foreign vessels.
“Look into the IOC, criminal record of foreign Nigerian contractors. 160 days, we have not been paid for the job we have done. We are not going to mention names but all of them are culpable. They cannot do that there. I have offices in America. If an oil company owes for 50 days, I will close his field of operation. I will go to court, get injunction and close his oil well but here, you go to court to sue one IOC, you sue everybody.”
When asked by Senator Abdullahi Adamu (APC, Nasarawa) why the case was not taken to court, Ebuh noted that delayed hearing of cases by the Nigerian judicial system is also a major shortfall.
“You know your courts. It will be dead before the case is called. When you go to court, that is not the route,” he responded.
Explaining how their companies can be blacklisted, he said, “Distinguished, how do you take the person that will give you food to court. Somebody that will give you the beer you will drink tonight, how will you take that person to court? We cannot take them to court because it is not America.
“Most of the American companies like Exxon mobil in particular and Chevron, there is a policy in the legal department, if you them to court, they will blacklist you in their system, you will never have work again.
“It makes most contractors not able to go there… If you have taken us to court, it therefore means you have been blacklisted from their system.”
The panel concluded the session by summoning the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and Nigeria National Petroleum Cooperation to appear before the panel on Wednesday.