Nigeria: Govt sues Chevron, others, over $12.7bn undeclared crude exports

*Crude oil export tanker.

*Crude oil export tanker.

Oscarline Onwuemenyi,
with agency reports

23 September 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Federal Government may have instituted legal action against three international oil companies over alleged $12.7 billion debt arising from undeclared crude exports to United States between 2011 and 2014.

The documents cited by Reuters were part of a lawsuit the Nigerian government filed on June 7 against one of the companies – Nigerian AGIP Oil Company (NAOC), a subsidiary of Italy’s ENI and it was not immediately clear from the documents exactly how many of the companies Nigeria has dragged to court.

The suit alleges that companies exported a total of 57 million barrels oil crude oil to the United States over the period but did not declare all of this to Nigerian government as required by law, according to the documents.

ENI had said on Tuesday the claim against it amounted to $160 million, that there were “no grounds” to the claim and that it would contest it in court although it was not immediately available for comment on Wednesday.

According to Reuters, U.S. oil company Chevron and France’s Total have both previously been named as defendants but were not immediately available for comment as at the time of this report.

Meanwhile, hopes of early realisation of the 2016 oil production target of 2.2 million barrels per day (b/d) brightened yesterday, as Shell Petroleum Development Corporation (SPDC) sets to resume production from the Forcados Terminal next week.

SPDC had on February 22, declared a force majeure on the Forcados Export Terminal- a legal clause that allows it to stop shipments without breaching contracts. The force majeure was declared after a sub-sea pipeline was hit by the Niger Delta Avengers.

The first cargo is expected to load on Sept. 28, Reuters said. October exports are expected to be around 230,000 barrels per day, a preliminary loading list showed.

The export lines are set to resume at the end of September for the first time since February with a loading programme issued for October, trade sources said on Thursday.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) had in April estimated that Nigeria could lose an estimated $1bn (N197bn) in revenue by May, when repairs of the Forcados terminal was expected to be completed.

About the Author