The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited says anyone or institution that deals with Eroton Exploration and Production Company Limited over the operation of Oil Mining Lease (OML) 18, does so at their own risk.
Recall, THE WITNESS had reported that NNPC Ltd took over the management of the oil block from EROTON owned by billionaire Onajite Okoloko, over mismanagement by the firm. It added that Eroton is also not able to “remit to the JV parties the proceeds of gas supplied to its affiliate, Notore”. The national oil firm further disclosed that the non-operating joint venture (JV) partners of OML 18 appointed its subsidiary, NNPC Eighteen Operating Limited, as the new operator of OML 18 to replace Eroton. NNPC said the action was taken to curtail further degradation of the asset and revamp production of oil and gas stressing that it has however invited the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to probe Eroton and its management.
Eroton, while responding to the development had insisted that it remains the operator of OML-18 in line with the provisions of the JOA, adding that any dispute whatsoever between the parties are reserved exclusively for resolution under the Dispute Resolution clause of the JOA.
But in a statement on Tuesday by Garba Deen Muhammad, NNPC spokesperson, the oil firm further advised the public to stop dealing with Eroton on the operation of OML 18.
The statement reads: “The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) has noted with concern the Press Release entitled “Eroton Remains Operator of OML 18” dated March 18, 2023, issued by Eroton Exploration and Production Company Limited (Eroton) which misinforms and misleads the public about the issues underpinning Eroton’s removal as the erstwhile Operator of OML 18.
“NNPC Ltd. refers to its Statement issued on March 6, 2023, in which it was categorically stated that the Non-Operators holding in excess of 60% of the interest in the joint venture had taken the difficult decision to remove Eroton as Operator of the joint venture, pursuant to the provisions of the OML 18 Joint Operating Agreement of March 1, 2015. That statement sets out the true position of the events leading to the removal of Eroton as Operator of the OML 18 Joint Venture.
“With Eroton having filed a Notice of Arbitration on March 2, 2023, NNPC Ltd. shall refrain from further joining issues in public with Eroton on the matter, except to advise any persons or entities still dealing with Eroton in their previous capacity as Operator of the OML 18 Joint Venture, that they continue to do so at their own risk as the new Operator of the OML 18 Joint Venture, NNPC Eighteen Operating Limited may not honour any agreements improperly reached with Eroton after the date of the change of Operator.
“Finally, NNPC Ltd. notes the improper and illegal usage of its official logo on the Eroton press release, which might suggest that NNPC Ltd. might have approved the Eroton statement. For avoidance of doubt, NNPC Ltd. states categorically that it was not consulted and did not approve the Eroton statement and puts Eroton on notice not to use the NNPC Ltd. official logo without the Company’s consent, for future press releases or any of its communications of this nature.”