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FG may earn $1bn from 25 oil blocks

Posted by Michael Faloseyi, Abuja on 2006/02/08 | Views: 464 |

FG may earn $1bn from 25 oil blocks

The Federal Government has said investors that participated in the 2005 Bid Round have indicated their readiness to pay for 25 out of the 77 oil blocks put on offer.

The Federal Government has said investors that participated in the 2005 Bid Round have indicated their readiness to pay for 25 out of the 77 oil blocks put on offer.

It added that 19 oil blocks had been withdrawn because of the inability of the winners to pay their signature bonuses.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Edmund Daukoru, who received a report of panel of experts on the bid on Wednesday in Abuja, announced the closure of the 2005 Bid Round.

He said that bidders with part payments of their signature bonuses had lost their lien on those blocks.

Dakoru said that the Federal Government might realise about $1billion from the exercise, which is less than 50 per cent of over $2 billion projected revenue at the bid conference where 44 successful bidders emerged.

However, as at Wednesday when the exercise was closed, the government was hopeful of 25 successful bidders, out of which eight had paid their signature bonuses with bank drafts, while another eight were expected to pay in two weeks’ time before signing their production sharing contracts.

According to him, 12 other bidders have paid with company cheques and are expected to back it up with cash or draft.

Our correspondent learnt, however, that the Department of Petroleum Resources had confirmed that three of the 12 may be unable to redeem their instruments.

Daukoru said that with the exception of oil blocks 312 and 323 that were tied to specific downstream projects, every other oil block without full financial backing or with half payments had been withdrawn.

He, however, did not rule out a further default in payment as some of the financial instruments were yet to be confirmed with the relevant financial authorities like the Central Bank of Nigeria; the Ministry of Finance; and the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation.

Daukoru said, “Those who have made part payments should expect a refund. I heard there would be administrative charges, but that is a token. All of you will be communicated by the DPR over your status.

“For those of you with full payment, you will have your oil blocks. Those of you who lost, you have learnt in the process.”

Meanwhile, a report of the panel of experts headed by Mr. Willy Olsen, which was presented by the Norwegian Ambassador, Mr. Tore Nedrebo, said that the government needed to be firmer in subsequent bids to ensure transparency.

The report said, “Future licence rounds should be organised quite similarly to the 2005 round, but the message is that you have to be firm and not accept alterations after the bids have been delivered.”

Also at the venue, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation said it could not comply with a presidential order to present its accounts to the Nigerian public on quarterly basis.

President Olusegun Obasanjo had in 2002 directed the management of the corporation to present its account every quarter. But NNPC last complied with the order in June 2003.

When asked about the directive, the Group Managing Director, NNPC, Mr. Funsho Kupolokun, on Wednesday, said, “No, we cannot do quarterly presentation of accounts. We will only present our audited accounts.”

He said that confusion might arise from a quarterly presentation of accounts, and that the NNPC would not want to be accused of presenting conflicting figures to the public.

The PUNCH, Thursday, February 09, 2006

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Comments (3)

Okfold(Sobe, Edo, Nigeria)says...

I want the meaning of female owan name Ekeke (Edo state)

Toluwalase Samuel Olufemi(Ijebu, Ogun, Nigeria)says...

Authority belongs to God, once He decrees it is final and binding

Ikponmwosa Osamede(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Your meaning of Osamede is wrong. Osamede means God has given me a crown