After digging up the mess in the divisive comments that Northerners owned 83% of oil blocs, we have uncovered the truth: most performing oil blocs belong to operators from the South.
Reeling out facts and figures about ownership of oil blocs in the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly last week, Senator Ita Enang, Chairman, Senate Committee on Business and Rules, representing Akwa Ibom North, cut the picture of a senator whose intellectual capacity drew close to the ideal member of the Senate. At least, in Nigeria, very few senators engage in in-depth research ahead of debates on the floor of the Chamber.
It would be the second time that this distinguished senator would demonstrate his brilliance on serious national issues in recent times. Earlier in January, he discovered a large hole in the activities of the Senate's Anti-Terrorism Bill, which, contrary to best practices in developed countries, made the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), the custodian of the vital law. As it were, he couldn't hold on to his excellent point of view, because when the law was eventually passed, the defect was not corrected.
As the debate on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) took a divisive turn in the Upper Chamber, Senator Enang, who may have engaged consultants to dust off statistics on ownership of oil blocs in the country, impressed on the Senate that the North was in control of 83 per cent of the oil blocs. And he gave the names of the oil companies and their owners.
But an in-depth investigation into oil blocs ownership carried out by Sunday Trust found the opposite of what was presented by the senator. Instead, northerners are the least when we consider owners of such assets.
Out of the total 32 marginal oil fields, mostly operated by the indigenous oil and gas companies, about 20 of the fields are owned by Southern entrepreneurs, including some companies owned by Bayelsa and Delta states.
Again, Sunday Trust learnt that out of the 169 Oil Mining Lease (OMLs) and Oil Prospecting License (OPL) in the country, 97 percent is owned and operated by the multinationals, which include Shell, Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Total, Eni and other independent operators.
Records obtained by Sunday Trust from the Department of Petroleum Resources showing the companies profiles revealed that some of the vibrant oil fields all belong to the entrepreneurs from South -West, South-East and Niger Delta.
Companies such as Oando Plc and Conoil Plc are now some of the major indigenous operators of the oil fields. For instance, Conoil is the biggest beneficiary with about six oil fields: OML 59,103,136, 2007, 290, and 257 while Oando has two fields, which include OPL 236 and 278.
Senator Enang forgot to capture individuals and companies who also belong to the south, especially the Niger Delta, with very lucrative oil fields that generate billions of Naira on monthly basis. A segment of his presentation which queried equity in the distribution of oil blocs has the following on its list:
1. Cavendish Petroleum, the operators of the OML 110, awarded to Alhaji Mai Deribe of Borno State - North East, nets an average of about N4 Billion monthly.
2. Seplat/Platform Petroleum, operators of the ASUOKPU/UMUTU Marginal Field with Mallam (Prince) Sanusi Lamido as a major shareholder and Director.
3. South Atlantic Petroleum Limited (SAPETRO) established by General T. Y. Danjuma, who is also the Chairman of Eni Nigeria Limited. SAPETRO partnered with Total Upstream Nigeria Limited (TUPNI) and Brasoil Oil Services Company Nigeria Limited to become operators of the OPL 246.
4. AMNI International Petroleum and Development Company is owned by Alhaji (Colonel) Sani Bello of Kontangora, Niger State. They are operators of OML 112 and OML 117. A former Petroleum Minister and former OPEC Chairman, Rilwanu Lukman, another northerner, manages AMNI Oil blocs and with very key interests in the NNPC/Vitol trading deal.
5. Oriental Energy Resources Limited, a company owned by Alhaji Indimi runs three oil blocs: OML 115, the Oldwok field and the Ebok field.
6. Alhaji Aminu Dantata's Express Petroleum and Gas Limited operates OML 108.
7. OML 113 allocated to Yinka Folawiyo Petroleum Limited is owned by Alhaji W. I. Folawiyo.
8. OPL 291 was awarded to Starcrest Energy Nigeria Limited, owned by Emeka Offor which was sold by Starcrest to Addax Petroleum. Emeka Offor still has a stake in Addax operations in Nigeria.
9. Mike Adenuga's Conoil is the oldest indigenous oil exploration industry in Nigeria with 6 oil blocs.
10. Alhaji Saleh Mohammed Gambo North East Petroleum Limited is the holder of the OPL 215 License. NOREAST Petroleum, as it is known, was awarded the blocs OPL 276 and OPL 283 and closing thereupon a Joint Venture Agreement with Centrica Resources Nigeria Limited and CCC Oil and Gas.
11. INTEL is owned by Atiku, Yar'adua and Ado Bayero and has substantial stakes in Nigeria's oil exploration industry both in Nigeria and Sao Tome and Principe.
Senator Enang ignored many other companies which include these owned by Dr A. B. C. Orjiako, Chairman Seplat Petroleum Development Company, the operators of OMLs 4,38 and 41 from Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) Joint Venture, SEPLAT.
The company's profile shows that it has continued production from the assets with average daily production of about 50,000 bpd (barrels of oil per day) of oil and 125 MMscfd of gas. All the gas production from the assets is sold to the Nigerian Gas Company, through existing pipeline networks.
Other Directors of the Seplat include Mr Austin Avuru, MD/CEO, Mr Jean-Francois Henin (Foreigner), Director, Mr Michel Hochard (Foreigner), Mr Mac Ofurhie, Director and Alhaji Nasir Ado Bayero, Director.
Another company that escaped the memory of Senator Enang was Midwestern Oil & Gas Company Plc. The company is owned by the Delta State Government and some Nigerian entrepreneurs. The company was incorporated in 1999, but commenced its operations in 2001 with upstream field activities from 2005. The company is focused on harnessing the opportunities in the exploration and production section of the oil industry in Nigeria. Records show that Midwestern produces up to 9,500 bopd from onshore Umusadege field, but hopes to increase this to 25,000 bopd, in the near future.
Platform Petroleum Limited is owned by Adegoke, Oluwafeyisola Sylvester while his deputy is Chief Dumo Lulu Briggs. This is another story of the marginal field that Mr Enang failed to share with his colleagues. Platform Petroleum Limited was allocated the Asuokpu/Umutu Marginal Field as sole Farmee/Operator. According to the company, by year end (2009) "we would have fully met our target of assembling the building blocks for the creation of an enduring, world-class Nigerian Independent oil company."
Platform has record of 24 months of continuous crude oil production with less than 2% production deferment, a 30mmscfd Gas Plant (nearing completion), capable of feeding 100MT/day of LPG into the local market, a fully-manned corporate structure consisting of 78 permanent staff and 92 contract/outsourced staff (all Nigerians).
Sogenal is the operator of the Akepo. The field is one of the six marginal fields that are currently producing or actively expecting production, out of 30 fields awarded in the marginal field bid round in 2003.
Sogenal initially farmed out 30 per cent of its interest in the field to Oando and 10 per cent to Exile Resources, but following Oando's recent buy-back of Exile, its stake has increased to 40 per cent. Sogenal retains 60 per cent and operatorship status. The company is believed to be owned by powerful southern elders, although details on this are sketchy.
Dubri Oil Company Limited (DOCL) is believed to be the oldest producing indigenous upstream oil company in the country. It was incorporated on the 10th March 1987. It has its incorporated head office at 13A, A. J. Marinho drive Victoria Island Annexe, Lagos, Nigeria and operational Office at 56 Boundary Road, GRA, Benin City. It is privately owned, and is the first indigenous petroleum producing company in Nigeria. The owners are U. J. Itsueli as Chairman, B. N. Itsueli, Director, A. E. Ihuegbu, Director, Omy Itsueli, Director C. Seweje, Director and J. O. Onilude, Secretary
The Company has a flow- station within Gelegele community by River Osse in Ovia North West Local Government Area, Edo State.
Chorus Energy operators of Dr Godswill S. Ihetu, Alade Agbabiaka (SAN), Nigel Nicholson, Theo Akinyede, Dr Kombo Braide, Paul Jennings, Theo Onyia and Senator Samaila Mamman recently had entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with four other marginal Field Operators within the same OML 56 and the nearby OML 38. The objective is for the companies to collaborate in all aspects of their operations that would bring economy to their individual operations.
In 2006, CEL entered into a Farm in Agreement with Septa as financing and technical partner in the Amoji/Matsogo/Igbolo assets. Septa Energy Nigeria Limited (Septa) is an affiliate of Seven Energy International (Seven), an indigenous gas focused Exploration and Production Company currently developing onshore domestic gas supply projects.
Consolidated Oil Limited is part owner of OML 103 and 458 offshore. The company is also part of the asset of Dr M Adenuga Mike (Jnr).
Emerald Oil is owned by former Special Adviser of the President on Energy, Dr Emmanuel O. Egbogah and assisted Jude Amaefule, among others. Emerald Energy Resources Limited was designated operator by the government and awarded 55% working interest in OPL 229 (now OML 141) during the Year 2000 Nigerian Oil and Gas Licensing Rounds, with Amni International Petroleum Development Company Ltd being awarded a 45% working interest as syndicated partner.
Energia Limited is owned by Mr Amieyeofori Felix, an entrepreneur from Niger Delta. The company is the Joint Venture Operator of the Ebendo/Obodeti Marginal Field (ex- Obodugwa/Obodeti Marginal field) located near Kwale, in Ndokwa West LGA, Delta State. The field was awarded to Energia and Oando, in a 55%/45% equity split with Energia as the designated Operator in the 2003 Federal Government/DPR Marginal Field rounds.
Britania-U is the operator of Ajapa field. The firm is owned by Mrs Catherine Uju Ifejika. The field current daily production is 2,300 bopd.
Moni Pulo has acquired expertise as the sole operator of its asset, OML 114. In 1992, the Company was awarded Oil Prospecting License (OPL 230). In 2007, the company successfully acquired three new oil blocks - OPL 239 in Ondo state, OPL 234 in Abia/Akwa Ibom states and OPL 231 in Cross River/Akwa Ibom states.
Founded and incorporated by High Chief (Dr) O. B. Lulu-Briggs, in 1992, Moni Pulo Limited (MPL) represents another interest of the Niger Deltans in the oil and gas fields.
Elcrest Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited is owned by Sir Emeka Offor. The company just completed its acquisition of a 45 percent stake in Oil Mining Lease (OML) 40. With the Federal Government's approval of the stake assignment to Elcrest Exploration and Production Company, parties to the oil bloc finally signed all necessary documents to legalize the divestment deal.
How PIB nearly tore senators apart
Last week, senators were in a battle of wit over the new Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB). The three days allotted to the debate of the bill had presented a spectacle of a chamber sharply divided over the controversial bill before senators sheathed swords and allowed it to pass the crucial second reading on Thursday.
The debate, which began on Tuesday, saw a total of 81 senators contributing to it. The gallery could be likened to a school debate as Senate President David Mark who assumed the role of a moderator appointed Senator Dahiru Kuta (PDP, Niger) as time-keeper. Each speaker was given five minutes.
Majority of the legislators were unanimous in their opposition against the "enormous" powers proposed for the president and the petroleum minister in the bill. A consensus was equally built on the need to ensure adequate funding and independence of the proposed National Frontier Exploration Agency.
The most contentious issue that turned the chamber into a theatre of war was the provision stating that oil companies would set aside 10 percent of their upstream activities profit for the communities. Engaged in a war of words over this were Niger Delta senators and their northern colleagues. While the former stoutly insisted on this provision, the latter vehemently kicked against it.
Immediately Senate Leader Victor Ndoma Egba (PDP, Cross River) read the lead debate, Mark curiously asked North-eastern senators to kick-start the debate. First to respond was Senator Alkali Jajare (ANPP, Yobe South) who viewed the provision for Host Community Fund as lacking institutional guidelines.
Senator Ahmed Lawan (ANPP, Yobe North) threw a major firework by alluding to a newspaper publication blaming Niger Delta's under-development on the mismanagement of the 13 percent derivation. He said rather than see other parts of the nation as parasitic states, Niger Delta governors ought to be queried for allegedly squandering the N11trn received for 10 years as derivation funds. He also raised the alarm that the nation had spent huge funds on such intervention programmes as the creation of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), the Amnesty Programme and the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.
Lawan was interrupted by the chairman of the Southern Senators' Forum, Senator James Manager (PDP, Delta South), who frankly warned: "Lawan should be careful and conscious of his utterances. How can he describe governors in Niger Delta as a failure? Our Standing Order forbids senators from using an insulting language."
Mark waded in thus: "Lawan only quoted a newspaper to say monies meant for the oil producing communities have been misappropriated and that, if that is true, those governors should be regarded as a failure. Manager, I therefore rule you out of order. Lawan, go ahead".
Lawan continued: "Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere. There should be no provision for the Host Community Fund in this bill. Those of us from non-oil producing states are tired. Nigeria belongs to us all and the oil belongs to Nigerians. This is a wake-up call for the development of alternative sources of income. I want to see an oil sector that is fairly independent of government, transparent enough to make revenues and resources known to citizens".
Apparently fed up with the heat generated by the debate, Mark stepped out of the gallery though his media aide, Paul Mumeh, later told our correspondent that his boss left for a dinner with some German parliamentarians.
At the resumption of the debate on Wednesday, Senators Danjuma Goje (PDP, Gombe Central) and Abdullahi Adamu's (PDP, Nasarawa West) insistence that the proposed 10 percent Host Community Fund was undeserving sparked off another round of frontal battle from Niger Delta senators.
Senator Ita Enang (Akwa Ibom North-East) rose up to describe the opposition to the Host Community Fund as highly misplaced. Enang's claim that northerners owned over 83 percent of oil blocks in the country elicited rumblings of annoyance from the northern lawmakers present in the chamber.
But shocked at Enang's claim, Mark promptly protected Enang against the 'rebels', warning them against distracting Enang who, he said, was making a very salient point. He however interrupted Enang asking if he could substantiate his claim.
Enang answered in the affirmative, saying "When you look at the distribution of those owning oil blocks and the amount of money that comes from the different oil blocks to the Federation Account and you see the owners of these oil blocks, you will agree with me that there is inequity in the distribution of oil blocks. The oil is produced in the Niger Delta, yet it is the people of the Northeast and the North-West and a little of the North-Central, almost nothing of the Southwest and the Southeast, that own and control these oil blocks. Almost nothing for the South-South, Niger Delta oil producing areas...What I'm asking now is that oil blocks in the whole country should be revoked and redistributed according to Federal Character Principle." At last, PIB passes second reading on Thursday with an expression of excitement by Mark that what people thought would tear the Senate apart, in the end, united it more than ever before.
MOST OIL BLOCS OWNED BY NORTHERNERS NOT PRODUCING
A piece written by one Toyin Akinosho, a geologist and expert in the petroleum sector revealed that, apart from Senator Enang's wrong arithmetic on the distribution of oil blocs in Nigeria, most of the blocs are not producing oil. Below is an excerpt from the piece, which is self-explanatory:
"The first field the author mentions is Obe field, which, he rightly claims, is held by Cavendish Petroleum, a company set up by Alhaji Mai Deribe. Alabo- George lied by saying that the Obe field, the main hydrocarbon pool in OML 110, contains 500 million barrels of oil reserves.
"The Obe field does not have a proven 20 million barrels. I am not sure it has 10 million barrels. It is not producing as I write. The Obe field has not produced for five years, since 2007, when Tranfigura, the last technical partner engaged by Cavendish, walked out.
"In countries where you don't have the complications that the NNPC brings to the table here, fields that haven't proven much more than 500 million barrels are "rushed" through to development.
"Ghana's Jubilee field didn't prove a billion barrels before the country's authorities approved a field development plan. Apart from Nigeria, Angola, Libya, Algeria, Ghana (now, since 2008) and perhaps Equatorial Guinea, no African country has a billion barrels in proven reserves. 500 million barrels is half of that.
"...(a) second example (given) of a wealthy northerner swimming in oil money is Mohammed Indimi, "a Fulani and close friend of General Ibrahim Babangida". (It) says "Oriental Energy Resources Limited runs three oil blocks: OML 115, the Okwok field and the Ebok field. OML 115 and Okwok are OML PSC, while Ebok is an OML JV. All of them good yielding offshore oil blocks".
"...True, Indimi's Oriental Resources holds the three assets. OML 115 is not producing as I write. No one has certified that there's a producible field in the acreage. Ebok is being produced, on Oriental Resources' behalf, by Afren, a UK listed company. Last year, the field delivered an average of 8,000 barrels of Oil per Day (BOPD), according to Afren's website. You can google it. Okwok, as I write, is still in development. Translation: it has produced nary a drop of oil.
"Aminu Dantata's Express Petroleum holds the Oil Mining Lease 108, with technical partners Shebah Petroleum, which bought out Conoco, the original technical partners. Fine.
"The Ukpokiti field, the main asset on the acreage, produced for quite a while; and should have made the Dantatas quite rich, over a period of more than seven years. The field died out at some point and is being revived as I write.
"Another truth: North East Petroleum has NEVER produced a single drop of oil since that award in the early 90s. There, simply, hasn't been a discovery worth the while for operator TOTAL.
"I agree that Theophilus Danjuma, also a Northerner, is entitled to contest for the award of the man who made the most fortune, at a sitting, on an oil acreage in Nigeria.
"Danjuma's company, South Atlantic Petroleum Limited (SAPETRO), made $1 billion from the deal (with the Chinese). The truth is that China National Overseas Offshore Company (CNOOC) signed a definitive agreement with SAPETRO to acquire a 45% working interest in OML 130 for $2.268 billion cash.
"I don't know how much the broker of the deal took, but I am yet to confirm if the Nigerian government earned any withholding tax from that transaction. In spite of what he has earned "upfront", Danjuma's SAPETRO gets 25,600 barrels of Oil per day for its 15% of OML 130 from the Akpo field, which is delivering 175,000 BOPD.
"But if you complain about Northerner Danjuma, what about the Alakijas, a Yoruba couple whose company, Famfa Oil, is "entitled", every day, to 25,000 BOPD from Chevron operated Agbami Field, located in deepwater OML 127?.
"These two companies are two of the four largest producing Nigerian companies today. The other two are Adenuga's Conoil (25,000 BOPD) and Seplat Petroleum (37,000 BOPD, operated, 16,000BOPD, equity).
"Only one of those four companies is Northern owned. And it is outright falsehood that "80 per cent of crude oil and gas produced by indigenous companies is controlled by the North-East".
"But, as I said again: which technical and managerial capacity are we building on the back of the rent collected from these leases. It's the real job."