NIGERIA: OML 18 JV Partners Appoints NNPC Eighteen Operating Limited as Operator
The non operating joint venture partners of OML 18 have appointed NNPC Eighteen Operating limited as operator replacing Eroton Exploration and Production Limited. According to a statement from the NNPC the move was to curtail further degradation of the asset and revamp production of oil and gas.
The change has been notified to the Nigeria Upstream Regulatory Commission (NURC) and communicated to Eroton.
The statement adds up that the asset has gone down from producing 30000 barrels a day to zero arising from Erotons inability to meet fiscal obligations with the company’s office in Lagos sealed for non tax compliance for more than a year.
The JV adds that Eroton is unable to remit proceeds from gas supplied to its affiliates NOTORE with Eroton at risk of losing its license after NURC completes its audits.
San Leon currently holds an initial 10.58% indirect economic interest in OML 18 in a rejoinder said that this purported takeover of operatorship was done without any legal or contractual basis and, furthermore, that Eroton considers that the action is without any legal effect, through both a lack of due process and a breach of the rule of law.
It adds that the lack of production from OML 18 alluded has been primarily due to the unavailability of Nembe Creek Trunk Line in the last two years and not to production issues suffered by Eroton. This is an industrywide problem due to widespread and well known crude oil theft and sabotage of pipelines in the Niger Delta.
San Leon adds that Eroton is currently taking advice on its legal rights to address the matter expeditiously and considers that it remains the operator of OML 18.