The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has said that it is unnecessary for it to pay the 60 per cent ($1.8bn) lease renewal fees, which is its equity contribution in the Oil Mining Leases 67, 68, and 70.
This, it said, was because the corporation was representing the Federal Government in the joint venture.
The NNPC said this while responding to the alleged underpayment of lease renewal fees on the OMLs 67, 68, and 70 by ExxonMobil, adding that the company paid $600m, which was its equity contribution of 40 per cent to the joint venture agreement.
A statement issued by the spokesperson for the national oil firm, Ndu Ughamadu, on Tuesday quoted the corporation’s Group Managing Director, Mele Kyari, as giving the explanation to the chairman and members of the Special Presidential Investigative Panel for the Recovery of Public Property (SPIPRPP) at the NNPC headquarters in Abuja.
SPIPRPP had reportedly summoned Kyari over alleged $1.8bn owed the Federal Government by Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited (ExxonMobil).
The summons signed by the panel’s Chairman, Okoi Obono-Obla, had directed Kyari to appear before the panel “unfailingly” on July 30.
But while addressing members of the panel in Abuja, the NNPC GMD stated that it was unnecessary for the corporation to pay the 60 per cent renewal fee.
“Ordinarily, the NNPC would have contributed the balance of 60 per cent of the amount which literally meant government paying money to itself. There was no need for that,” Kyari told his guests.