• Wednesday, November 29, 2023
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ExxonMobil denies illegally lifting Nigeria’s petroleum products

Nigerian regulator expects ExxonMobil asset sale to close soon

ExxonMobil has denied allegations that it illegally lifted Butane at the Bonny River Offshore Terminal (BRT), an offshore terminal in Nigeria.

The firm in a release, said it applied and obtained necessary clearance from the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) for the lifting of 12,600 metric tonnes of Butane aboard a vessel named Barumk Gas on May 26, 2023.

“Barumk Gas berthed at the loading jetty at BRT on June 7. Loading operation commenced and ended on June 8, 2023; after which an official of NUPRC on site (at the BRT) issued a Certificate of Quantity and Quality as statutorily required for the fulfillment of requirements of accurate hydrocarbon accounting reporting and ability of the vessel to sail to its delivery destination. This is in line with global best practice,” the statement read.

According to the Energy firm, it is important to state that Exxonmobil formally applied to NUPRC for approval of its operations as an integrated operation, in line with Sections 8(d) and 318 of the Petroleum Industry Act, 2021.

“Following careful evaluation of the request, NUPRC deemed it fit and granted approval accordingly,” the company said.

“NUPRC wishes to state categorically that the said operation was legitimate and in line with the statutory mandate of the Commission as the technical and commercial regulator of the upstream sector in Nigeria as stipulated by law.

This is coming after a Reuters report earlier in the week indicating that there was illegal lifting of petroleum products by the company.

According to the report, the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) alleged that ExxonMobil Corp was involved in the illegal lifting of petroleum products from the offshore terminal.

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NMDPRA said in the letter that Barumk Gas, a shipping vessel, was lifting butane from the ExxonMobil-controlled Bonny River Terminal without its “authorization or participation,” according to Reuters.

ExxonMobil has, however, urged the NUPRC to clear the air on the allegations making rounds in the media. “Being the regulator statutorily entrusted with the technical and commercial regulation of the upstream sector in Nigeria, it has become necessary for the NUPRC to state the true position regarding the transaction in issue,” the company said.

According to ExxonMobil, the NUPRC is not aware of any illegality in the transaction and none was committed by either ExxonMobil Nigeria and its affiliates or the NUPRC as an agency of Government.

The statement revealed that the 9th Senate set up an ad hoc committee to investigate all lifting, theft and the impact on petroleum production and revenues on the heels of the growing spate of crude oil theft in the upstream petroleum sector in 2022.

“Following the conclusion of its investigation and presentation of its findings on the floor of the Senate on November 7, 2022, the Committee of the Whole passed far-reaching resolutions amongst which was the need for streamlining operations of MDAS at the crude oil export terminals in Nigeria.

“The Senate, in line with section 7(ee) of the Petroleum Industry Act, 2021, resolved that the NUPRC should assume full regulatory oversight of all existing crude oil export terminals.

“The resolution was sent to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, NUPRC, NMDPRA and all relevant stakeholders in the oil and gas industry in Nigeria,” the statement read.

According to ExxonMobil, former president Muhammadu Buhari sought the opinion of the then Attorney General and Minister of Justice, who after a review concurred with the Senate resolution and reaffirmed that the said resolution is in line with the letter and spirit of the PIA, 2021 which seeks to promote ease of doing business and investments and enhance transparency of hydrocarbon accounting

“Subsequently, the former President approved the Senate resolution and explicitly directed immediate compliance with the resolution, insisting that NUPRC is the sole and only regulatory entity to regulate and monitor activities of all existing crude oil export terminals in Nigeria, in line with the relevant section of the PIA 2021. The directive was sent to all relevant MDAs and stakeholders for compliance.”

ExxonMobil said the NUPRC also notified industry operators and relevant stakeholders of the Presidential directive and its readiness to immediately assume full regulatory oversight.