Aiteo Exploration and Production Company have alleged that it has been shortchanged alongside the Federal Government, a total of 16 million barrels of crude oil by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), in an oil theft claim.
The indigenous oil exploration and production company said that the 16 million crude shortfall recorded at the Bonny Export Terminal between 2016 and 2018 is owned by then and the Federal Government.
According to a report from the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), this disclosure is contained in a statement issued by the Group Head, Media Operations at Aiteo, Mr Ndiana Matthew, on Friday, March 20, 2021.
Aiteo alleged that Shell, operator of the Bonny Crude Export Terminal, was behind ongoing media reports to tarnish its image and that of Aiteo’s founder to divert attention.
What Aiteo is saying
Aiteo in its statement said, “By doing so, the outcome will create unnecessary digressions and distractions from the current issues encapsulated by our demand that Shell accounts and pays for over 16 million barrels of oil belonging to us and the Nigerian government.
“The crude is missing through their actions and activities. Hitherto unchallenged evidence of this missing crude is exemplified by the discrepancies in the production figures independently reported by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).
“As is standard in the industry, DPR reports actually reconciled production volumes from the wells that flow to the terminal. Their records and statistics align with Aiteo’s reconciled production figures. NNPC, on the other hand, reports crude measured at the tanks in the terminal exclusively managed, operated and controlled by the IOC.
“It is the analysis of these independent reports that demonstrate the glaring discrepancies. Indeed, over the relevant three-year period, the figures from both government agencies.
In 2016, NNPC reported 16 million barrels while DPR records showed 22 million, while in 2017, NNPC data showed 13.5 million barrels whereas DPR recorded 21 million barrels and in 2018, NNPC recorded 15 million and DPR 25 million barrels,” the oil firm stated.
It was learnt that the crude deficit between 2016 and 2018 reported at the Bonny terminal operated by SPDC had caused a dispute amongst several oil firms that used the oil export facility.
What Shell Petroleum Development Company is saying
In its response, SPDC described allegations of involvement in oil theft at its Bonny Crude Export Terminal as misleading with the Media Relations Manager, Mr Bamidele Odugbesan, in a statement made available to the press, saying the claim was factually incorrect.
Odugbesan in its statement said, “The crude theft and diversion allegation is also factually incorrect. This is a distinct issue that relates to the directive by the DPR to SPDC as operator of the Bonny Oil and Gas Terminal, an asset belonging to the SPDC Joint Venture to implement a crude reallocation programme between injectors into the SPDC JV’s Trans Niger Pipeline and injectors into the NCTL.
“Crude allocation review and reallocation is a normal industry practice to reallocate previous provisional allocated volumes under the directive and supervision of DPR and this is not an exercise resulting from crude diversion, underreporting or theft at the terminal.
“This industry practice is not peculiar to the SPDC-operated Bonny Oil and Gas Terminal alone and does not translate into any loss of volumes to the Federal Government of Nigeria. The reallocation issue was initiated by SPDC as operator of the Bonny Oil and Gas Terminal, while the DPR validated and confirmed it for implementation for the concerned oil producers.
“Crude oil production metering and allocation are subject to specific guidelines issued by the industry regulator, DPR, SPDC strictly adheres to these guidelines and the implementation is regularly verified by the regulator,” he stated.
What you should know
- It can be recalled that in February 2021, a federal court in Lagos had issued an injunction barring Shell from withdrawing money at 20 local banks in a lawsuit brought against the oil major by Aiteo.
- Aiteo is seeking about $4 billion in total over alleged problems with the Nembe Creek Trunk Line (NCTL) pipeline it bought from the Anglo-Dutch group in 2015 and over claims Shell undercounted its oil exports pointing out poor condition of the pipeline and associated lost oil sales.
- The indigenous oil firm also accused Shell of deliberate improper metering of the Nigerian company’s oil exports from the Bonny Light terminal. It is seeking $2.7 billion over the pipeline deal plus $1.28 billion for lost oil sales.