Neconde Energy Limited, the operator of oil mining lease (OML) 42, has denied any kickback deal with a former Vice President for sub-Saharan Africa, Shell, Peter Robinson, during the acquisition of the oil field divested by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC).
In a statement denying the allegation, Neconde management accused Shell of malicious intention. It said: “Local and international media have published some news articles on the current investigation of a former Vice-President of Shell in Nigeria, Mr. Peter Robinson, in connection with a case of suspected bribery in the acquisition of Oil Prospecting License (OPL) 245 in Nigeria by Italy’s ENI and Shell. The same news reports also allege the involvement of Robinson in a suspected kickback in the acquisition of OML 42 by Neconde in 2011.
“Neconde, in an open and competitive bid in early 2011, acquired the 45 per cent joint equity interest in OML 42 in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria from Shell, Total and Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC), Nigerian subsidiary of Eni. The acquisition was financed by a consortium of reputable local and international financiers.
“At the time of the acquisition, Neconde was aware that Mr. Robinson was a Vice President in Shell. However, other than the legitimate business of acquisition of OML 42 for which full consideration was furnished, Neconde did not have any other formal, or informal dealing with Mr. Robinson.
“For the acquisition of OML 42, Neconde paid the full consideration provided by its financiers and in accordance with the competitive bid process adopted by the three International Oil Companies (IOCs).
“At the end of the bidding process, these three IOCs also unanimously agreed, at their respective highest decision-making levels, to the sale of OML 42 to Neconde. Neconde did not pay any money, in whatever guise, to Mr. Robinson or any other person in Shell, TOTAL or NAOC to facilitate the acquisition of their joint interest in OML 42.
“Neconde completely denies any allegation or suspicion of kickback for the acquisition of its interest in OML 42 and the statement credited to Shell suggesting the contrary, is untrue and most unfortunate.”
This allegation by Shell, Neconde said, may not be unconnected with an ongoing arbitration instituted by Neconde against Shell in London in connection with Shell’s alleged “diversion of crude oil worth millions of US Dollars from OML 42 after the acquisition of the 45 per cent joint equity interest by Neconde and for other infractions.”
“Neconde views this unwarranted allegation of kickback as defamatory and is seriously considering its legal options in this regard.”