The Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA), a non-governmental organisation, has alleged that Mobil Producing Nigeria underpaid for the renewal of three oil mining leases (OMLs).
But the international oil company has denied wrongdoing, maintaining that it reached an agreement with the federal government “within the confines of the law”.
In a statement made available to TheCable, HEDA said it had issued a freedom of information (FoI) request to the managing director of Mobil.
HEDA said the federal government had publicised the renewal of OMLs 67, 68 and 70 but did not disclose the details of the renewed leases.
“Based on the valuation conducted by the ministry of petroleum resources, MPN and the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) as equity holders, were required to pay $6.375 billion as 100% of the reserve fee,” the statement read.
“Mobil’s 40% share in the lease was fixed at $2.55 billion, of which there would be a commitment to invest the sum of $1.2 billion in a refinery and gas infrastructure for the domestic market.
“Reports in the public domain and some documents sighted by this organisation, Mobil rejected the said terms and allegedly paid $600 million for the renewal of the three oil blocks which have a combined output of 580,000 barrels of crude oil per day.
“Curiously, the payment was accepted by the then minister of state in the ministry of petroleum resources, Mr. Odein Ajumogobia, who purportedly signed the deal.
“However, the predecessor of the erstwhile minister of petroleum resources had refused to endorse this transaction, accusing MPN of undervaluing the oil block. The said leases were however, renewed for 20 years by the erstwhile minister of petroleum resources on behalf of the government of the federation.
“You will recall the successor of Mr. Ajumogobia in the ministry of petroleum resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, rejected the terms for the renewal of this licenses, resulting in a fresh negotiation leading to additional payment by your company for the block. We would appreciate your company furnishing us with details of the renewal and the total amount paid by Exxon Mobil for these licenses.”
When contacted, Ogechukwu Udeagha, Mobil’s spokesman, said the company reached an agreement with the federal government within the confines of the law.
“Mobil Producing Nigeria fully complied with the requirements outlined by Nigerian law for the renewal of OML 67, 68 and 70,” he wrote in response to TheCable’s inquiry.
“Nigerian law, as prescribed under the Petroleum Act, outlines the processes and procedures for an oil mining license (OML) renewal in the country. Within this framework an agreement between the Nigerian government and MPN was reached and legally executed.
“Mobil Producing Nigeria adheres to the highest standards of business conduct. MPN takes strong exception to any allegation to the contrary.”
Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited operates a joint venture with the federal government through the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
Government controls 60 percent share, while the company has the remaining 40 percent.