Firm recounts how it uncovered IOCs’ $55bn unpaid royalties to Nigeria Government

Web Editor | ConsumerConnect

In what amounts to outright economic sabotage and unfair business practice of global oil firms’ denying Nigeria its rightful oil wealth, Trobell International Limited, an oil and gas consultancy firm, has disclosed how it helped the Federal Government to uncover over $55 billion unpaid royalties by International Oil Companies (IOCs) operating in the country.

The company said it uncovered the unpaid royalties through out-of-court settlements with some of the oil firms which initially rushed to court to end the exercise, according to The Nation.

The company, however, said the demand for the recovery charges of 5% was in line with the terms of engagement.

It was learnt that there had been controversy over the engagement of the company by the Federal Government as lead consultant to recover the excess of government’s share from the profits made by oil firms.

Report states that the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) which engaged the firm in 2018 suspended its work April 2020.

Mr. Thomas Sede, Managing Director of Trobell International Limited, nevertheless, said the company “crossed several hurdles in its attempt to help the government to recoup what is due to it from profit made by the IOCs under the Production Sharing Contracts.”

Mr. Sede stated that the company had helped the government to establish over $55 billion as unpaid royalties by the IOCs.

The demand for the recovery charges of 5% of the recovered sum was in line with the terms of engagement and the standards in such a process.

According to the company, “it was out of patriotism that Trobell on 19th January, 2017, when Nigeria was in recession and knowing fully well that the contracting oil companies which signed the Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs) are owing Nigeria these colossal sums of money from profit oil, wrote a proposal to the then Honourable Minister of Finance to be appointed a lead consultant to recover the money from the International Oil Companies (IOCs).

“It is important to note that it was at the time Nigeria went about borrowing through the issuance of Bonds and Treasury Bills for minimal amount when compared to the large sums of money the country was being owed by these international oil companies.”

It further stated that “when there was no response exactly one year after Trobell’s proposal to the former Minister of Finance, Trobell again submitted the same proposal on January 19, 2018, to the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation (HAGF).

“Around this time, three Niger Delta states of Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Bayelsa had also sued the federal government seeking that the government be mandated to initiate process of recovering the said monies from the IOCs in order to have their own shares.”

The firm was finally engaged it moved to end the legal tussles before taking further steps for recoveries, said the Managing Director of Trobell International Limited

The statement said: “Trobell’s mandate was to identify the PSCs contracting companies that are affected by the non-application of the Production Sharing Act; Section 16 (1) and determine the amount owed by each company.”

“To accomplish the task, Trobell engaged “several Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) and one of the best accounting firms in Nigeria.

“Besides the Petroleum experts nominated to work with Trobell by the plaintiff states, Trobell also engaged its own Petroleum experts.

“Some of the tasks undertaken,” according to Mr. Sede, “include obtaining relevant documents from NNPC, FIRS, Nigerian Customs and other sources (PSC Agreements, Tax Returns etc.), analysis of Crude Oil Price Data (1998-2018), Crude Oil lifting data by PSC Parties over the period of each Oil Mining Lease (OML) production, United States of America Inflation rates (1998-2018) to adjust US$20 to Real Terms – conversion of US$20 of 1998 to US$20 Real Terms over the period.

“Additional tasks undertaken by Trobell include development of Financial Model for the computation of the Additional Revenue & approval of same by the Body and the HAGF, computation of revised Profit Oil distribution between OML operators and NNPC/FGN on switch of profit-sharing ratios, compilation and Presentation of a comprehensive report to the office of the HAGF showing a detailed summary of amounts due from the various OMLs under the various PSCs,” it added.

Trobell stated: “With the approval of the Minister of Justice, the firm also sent letters of demand for the amounts computed against the various OMLs were sent out to the various operators and convened a meeting between the body of consultants, the OML Operators (IOCs) and the Federal Ministry of Justice.

“The meeting discussed the basis of the demand notices and how the outstanding amounts of Additional Revenue accruing to the Federation were calculated for each OML, the terms of the mechanism for recovery and modalities for negotiation and for making enquiries and getting responses in respect of the subject matter.”

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