Lagos — The federal government on behalf of Nigeria said a number of court cases are underway against International Oil Companies operating in the country over a back-log of debt on revenue sharing from petroleum sales if crude exceeds $20 a barrel.
A statement by the Attorney-General, Abubakar Malami on Monday in London, described the money to be recovered from the oil majors as “colossal”.
According to him, the move is under the 1990 regulations that allow the government to review revenue sharing from petroleum sales once crude exceeds $20 a barrel.
Malami told journalists as reported by Reuters, that a number of court cases were already underway, adding that the sums in question were “huge”.
“We are taking steps to recover what we feel is due,” he said.
“One thing I can say is that the amount is substantial and colossal, there is no doubt about it,” said Malami, not naming the companies.
Malami is in London as part of a delegation of Nigerian policymakers to meet stakeholders and investors as well as attend a court hearing on a $9 billion arbitration case the government disputes.
Nigeria’s central bank governor Godwin Emefiele, also part of the delegation, accused oil majors of having dragged their feet on purpose rather than initiating a review once oil prices crossed the $20 per barrel threshold.
“You think it should be forgotten and we shouldn’t revisit it given that it resulted in substantial loss of revenue to the government?” said Emefiele.
“It stands for me to reason that the IOCs deliberately did not trigger event for review because it benefits them – and that is something that we kick against.”
The delegates will attend a court hearing on Thursday following a judge in August that he would grant a firm called Process and Industrial Developments Ltd (P&ID) the right to seek to seize some $9 billion in assets from the government over an aborted gas project.