By Henry Umoru
ABUJA- THE Senate yesterday gave a one week ultimatum to International Oil Companies (IOCs) and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC to submit all details of their shortfall alternative funding of joint venture cash calls from 2011 to 2015.
According to the Senate, the IOCs should submit their funding related documents which include bank’s offer letter on the credit facilities as well as bank statements on loan account to operators for the funding of Joint venture operations.
Giving the ultimatum yesterday at the opening of a two day public hearing on the implementation of the joint venture cash call obligations, organised by the Senate joint Committees on Gas and Petroleum, Downstream, Chairman, Committee on Gas Resources, Senator Bassey Albert, described the public hearing as critical and expedient, adding that the report of the committee to be submitted to the Senate would represent the position of the Senate on the issue of joint venture cash call.
While acknowledging the current moves by the NNPC and the joint venture operators to restructure the funding of the cash call obligations, Sen. Bassey stressed that the committee needed explanation on the implementation of the cash call within the period under review because it amounts to infraction of the law for the non implementation or diversion of the cash calls for which provisions were provided for in the various budgets passed by the National Assembly.
Apart from chevron oil and ExxonMobil who were represented at the public hearing by their chief operating officers, other IOCs sent representatives below the rank of executive director, contrary to the rules of the Senate, an action which irked the committee members and led their being benched.
Responding to questions from the committee, the Group Managing Director (GMD), Engr. Maikanti Baru described cash call system as an albatross to the funding of oil operations in the country, and disclosed that NNPC is engaging stakeholders to exit the present cash call system in favour of an alternative funding system.
According to him, discussions were ongoing to settle the cash call arrears owed by NNPC .