The National Department of Petroleum Resources has dissociated itself from an alleged Federal Government’s deal with Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited (ExxonMobil) clearing the company to pay $665m instead of $2.5bn for the renewal fees for three oil blocs in 2009.
The DPR denied knowledge of the deal concerning the Oil Mining Leases 67, 68 and 70 in a letter dated July 23, 2019, which was obtained by newsmen on Saturday.
The letter addressed to the Chairman of the Special Presidential Investigative Panel on the Recovery of Public Property, which has been investigating the transaction since 2018, rather referred the investigative body to approach the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation for information concerning the deal.
Nigerian Newsmen had reported that the SPIPRPP led by Mr Okoi Obono-Obla, was investigating a petition by human rights lawyer, Mr Femi Falana (SAN), who accused Mobil of only paying about $600m out of the payable renewal fees of $2.5bn for the renewal of the three OMLs in 2009.
The DPR’s position on the transaction contradicts the earlier claim by ExxonMobil that the $665m it paid for the OMLs 67, 68 and 70 was the full payable renewal fees in line with the agreement it reached with the DPR and the NNPC.
The DPR’s July 23, 2019 letter with reference number, PI.LM/3900/S.650/31, is titled, ‘Re: Investigation activity, request for certified true copy of agreement between the Federal Government of Nigeria and Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited concerning purchase of three oil blocs.’
The letter responding to SPIPRPP’s inquiries concerning the deal was signed on behalf of the director of the department by one S. Hassan.
It read in part, “We refer to your letter dated October 26, 2018, on the above subject matter.
“Kindly be informed that the Department of Petroleum Resources was not involved in the negotiation of the renewal bonus of the three blocs.
“In view of the above, we advise that you request from Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation to provide the required information on the issue.”