Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
The Senate Joint Committee on Gas and Petroleum (Downstream) wednesday ordered international oil companies (IOCs) and Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to submit details of the shortfall in their alternative funding of joint venture cash calls from 2011 to 2015 within one week.
The order was given at the opening of a two-day public hearing on the implementation of the joint venture cash call obligations in the National Assembly.
Issuing the order, the Chairman of the Joint Committee, Senator Albert Bassey, asked the IOCs to submit their funding related documents such as the bank’s offer letter on credit facilities and bank statements on loan account to operators for funding of the joint venture operations.
Bassey who described the public hearing as critical and expedient, said the report of the committee on the hearing would represent the position of the Senate on the issue of joint venture cash call.
He acknowledged the moves by NNPC and joint venture operators to restructure the funding of the cash call obligations, saying the committee needed explanation on implementation of the cash calls within the period under review.
According to him, non-implementation or diversion of the cash calls for which provisions were provided in various budgets passed by the National Assembly amounts to violation of the law.
Besides Chevron and ExxonMobil which were represented at the public hearing by their chief operating officers, other IOCs sent representatives below the rank of executive directors.
This provoked the committee which said the attitude ran contrary to the rules of the Senate.
Answering questions from the committee, the Group Managing Director (GMD) of NNPC, Mr. Maikanti Baru, described cash call system as an albatross to the funding of oil operations in the country.
He said NNPC was currently engaging stakeholders to exit the present cash call system with a view to creating an alternative funding system adding that discussions were ongoing to settle the cash call arrears owed by NNPC.