Transfer of $1.8bn-Worth of Oil Blocks to NPDC  Faulty, Says NNPC

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By Chineme Okafor in Abuja

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Friday said it has finally accepted that the transfer of oil blocks to its subsidiary, the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), at the cost of $1.8 billion but for which only $100 million has so far been paid by NPDC was not transparently conducted.

NNPC’s Group Executive Director (GED) in charge of Finance and Accounts, Alhaji Ishiaka Razak, said at a meeting with the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) that the oil blocks’ transaction was not transparent and requires comprehensive independent investigation.

A statement from the NEITI on the outcome of the meeting was made available to THISDAY in Abuja.

The statement noted that the Chairman of NEITI Board, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who is also the Minister for Solid Minerals, NEITI’s Executive Secretary, Mr. Waziri Adio, and Razak who represented the Group Managing Director of NNPC and Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu were at the meeting.

According to it, the meeting was convened to resolve the frosty working relationship between both organisations, as well as bridge the information gap between them in the execution of their respective mandates.

Razak it was said, noted NNPC full commitment to the NEITI process. He said the corporation will henceforth deepen its involvement at all levels of NEITI processes in the oil and gas sector.

He said on the lingering controversy over NNPC’s transfer of the oil blocks; OMLs 26, 30, 34, 42 4, 38 and 41: “We in the new management team of NNPC have reviewed that transaction and totally agree with NEITI that the transaction was not transparent and should be investigated.”

NEITI had its 2012 oil and gas audit report stated that Nigeria may have lost billions of monies from the transaction. Its audit findings were further buttressed by a PwC audit report which also said the NPDC has yet to complete the payment for the assigned assets, with only $100 million paid out of the total value of $1.85 billion assigned by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).

NNPC and NEITI had in the past held different positions on this transaction, with the former insisting that the transaction was duly completed.

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