The Senate on Thursday queried the Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Development Board (NCDMB) for the award of N50billion contract to an unqualified company, NOV Oil and Gas Limited from the Total Upstream Nigeria Limited.
The Senate Ad Hoc Committee investigating Local Content and Cost Variation on the $16billion Egina Deep Sea oil project said the award award is contrary to the Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act of 2010.
Chairman of the ad hoc committee, Senator Solomon Adeola (APC Lagos West), faulted the Board for issuing certificate to the company, which is solely owned by a French man without any shareholding for Nigerian.
By the NOGICD Act, all such companies operating in Nigeria oil and gas sector must have a shareholding of 51% for Nigerians and 49% for others to be given approval by NCDMB, the regulatory body on Local Content law.
Senator Adeola spoke when the Managing Director of NOV Oil and Gas Nigeria Limited, Mr. Bertrand Huet, appeared before the committee to brief it on its initially awarded contract from Total Upstream Nigeria Limited of $163 million that was later varied to $200million (N50billion).
According to him, based on the document submitted by NOV Oil and Gas, Total Upstream, NAPIMS and the NCDMB and the confession by Mr. Huet, his company was not qualified from getting such contract in the oil and gas sector of the Nigerian economy.
He stated that “the company that got a whopping N50 billion contract is a one man business solely owned by the managing director”, adding that the company was solely incorporated to corner some aspects of the Egina project that should have been done by Nigerians.
“There is need to unveil the true identity of NOV Oil and Gas and its operations in Nigeria. Once that is done to ascertain that the company has not breached Nigeria laws in its ownership structure, we can then go into the suspicious variation of its contract from $163 million to $202million and related matter of non-adherence to Local Content law that denied Nigerian opportunity for training, capacity building and transfer of technology”, he stated.
Senator Adeola said that as representative of the people, they will not allow any foreigner to do what they cannot do in their countries here in Nigeria or engaged in practices that do not meet international best practices thereby shortchanging the people of Nigeria and Nigerians
In a related development, the lawmaker ordered that two similar companies AVEON, and GILS Automation engaged in the Egina Project that were billed to appeared before the committee but refused risked having their chief executives arrested if they refused to show up in the next 24 hours adding that there nonappearance after being duly invited indicates they have something to hide in the Egina Project.
“The companies should not allow the Senate to invoke Sections 88 and 89 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic to order for a warrant of the arrest of the chief executives of these companies”, Adeola stated.
He, however, directed the executive secretary of NCDMB to stop all dealings and approvals for the company’s pending their appearance before the committee.