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Nigerian president orders Shell, Exxon to pay oil arrears

 

Nigerian President Umaru Yar' Adua

Umaru Yar’ Adua

Nigerian president orders Shell, Exxon to pay oil arrears

ABUJA (AFP) — Nigerian President Umaru Yar’Adua Tuesday ordered the state-run oil firm NNPC to recover payment arrears of 1.91 billion dollars (1.22 billion euros) from Shell and ExxonMobil, a statement said.

The sum represents outstanding payments on the Production Sharing Contracts (PSC) on the Bonga and Erha oilfields, accounting for about 20 percent of Nigeria’s total oil production, it said.

“ExxonMobil affiliate fully complies with all laws and regulations and has paid taxes and royalties to Nigeria accordingly,” ExxonMobil said in response, in an official statement read to AFP.

“Our affiliate routinely has ongoing discussions with a number of government agencies on a variety of topics, including tax. We do not comment on ongoing discussions,” it said.

“As these matters are subject of ongoing discussions between the NNPC, SNEPCO (Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company) and other partners in block OML 118 (the Bonga field) we have no further public comments to make at this stage”, a SNEPCO official said.

SNEPCO, an affiliate of ExxonMobil, is a Nigerian oil and gas exploration and production company.

A senior Shell official, who asked not to be named, told AFP that the company was consulting with other partners, including the NNPC, on its reaction to the government statement.

Nigeria is Africa’s largest oil producer.

The government directive is in line with the recommendations of a panel set up by Yar’Adua to determine whether Nigeria was losing money in production sharing costs in the deep offshore oilfields, the statement said.

Yar’Adua also ordered the government tax agency to “pursue” income tax payments from SNEPCO and Esso Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited on the operation of the Bonga and Erha oil fields.

http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5jqD3Rm0xEAqV0D3IOLi8e5NricZQ

 

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