The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has signed a preliminary agreement with two companies over a dispute about foreign firms exporting Nigerian oil from some offshore fields, which could pave the way to resolving all disputes with international oil majors about oil exports.
NNPC signed the agreement with China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) and Nigerian South Atlantic Petroleum (SAPETRO), “signifying a major milestone towards the resolution of all disputes related to Oil Mining Lease (OML) 130 Production Sharing Contract,” the Nigerian state oil company said on Twitter.
OML 130 consists of producing fields such as Akpo and the giant ultra-deepwater Egina oilfield. France’s Total, via its Nigerian subsidiary, operates OML 130 with a 24-percent interest, in partnership with NNPC, SAPETRO, CNOOC E&P Nigeria Limited, and Petrobras Oil and Gas BV.
Nigeria has been in dispute with Big Oil over the production sharing revenues from the fields the international oil majors operate in partnership with NNPC. The African OPEC member has also claimed that some of the world’s biggest oil firms operating in the country had illegally exported crude oil from Nigeria as they have failed to properly declare the quantities of their exports.
In 2016, Nigeria sued the oil majors, including Chevron, Shell, Eni, and Total, claiming that the foreign oil firms failed to declare US$12.7 billion worth of Nigerian oil exports to the United States in the period between 2011 and 2014, The Wall Street Journal reported at the time.
Big Oil, which collectively produce around 80 percent of Nigeria’s crude oil, have always denied the claim that they have failed to properly declare their exports, Bloomberg notes.
Last year, Nigeria also began talks with Big Oil over the dispute about the production-sharing revenues. Nigeria claims that international oil majors owe it US$62 billion in oil revenues because they haven’t complied with a 1993 law that entitles Nigeria to reap a higher share of revenues if oil prices are above $20 a barrel. The majors are challenging this claim, too.