The management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has dissociated itself from the $25 million failed oil block bid deal by an Indian company, Oil and Natural Gas Corp-Mittal Energy Limited.

NNPC, in a statement issued through its Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Mr. Ohi Alegbe, said the corporation did not partake in the deal and that any attempts to link it with the transaction smacked of ignorance of the workings of Nigerian oil and gas industry.

The statements read in parts: “Our attention has been drawn to the repeated reports linking the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, with the failed attempt by a certain Indian company, Oil and Natural Gas Corp-Mittal Energy Limited, OMEL, to acquire an oil block during the 2006/2007 oil bid round and the consequent failure to get a refund of the funds it committed to the deal.

“We wish to clarify that NNPC is not the statutory body saddled with the responsibility of organizing bid rounds and so could not have received the alleged amount of $25 million or any payment from OMEL for the transaction.

NNPC, previously fingered as cesspool of corruption during the past regimes insists it had no hand in the deal and warned of further attempts to drag into the messy deal. “We find the deliberate attempt to drag NNPC into the various allegations surrounding the transaction as mischievous and unfortunate. We urge those who are interested in the story to seek clarification with the relevant agencies responsible for conducting bid rounds and to whom OMEL may have paid the alleged fee.”

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has mandated its committees on petroleum upstream and downstream, to investigate the operations of the joint venture agreements with particular reference to leakages. The House said that the yet to be constituted committee would carry out a forensic assurance review of the books to establish the amounts of income that accrued to the joint venture partners in the past seven years and actual amount remitted to the federation account.

By Olisemeka Obeche


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