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Oil Companies And Bank Loans

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Olusola Bello

The five banks which last weekend had their managing directors sacked by the apex bank are also known to have been involved in what is now called banks unusual romance with the oil and gas industry. The former bank bosses may have marched into the slippery terrain of the industry without first of all doing their home work on the vagaries of the sensitive sector. The bait which forced them to lower their guard was the fact that the oil firms continued to service their accounts a tendency which subsequently took the place of the good old collateral. Many analysis have faulted the banks’ failure to conduct due diligence on the sector before offering the companies jumbo loans that were not secured.
On their part, the oil firms selling the idea that the escalating price of crude oil would continue to point skywards, took advantage of the situation to churn out irresistible bankable proposals.
There was a sudden rise in the price of crude oil to about $140 per barrel while the price of products like Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) or petrol, Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) or diesel was sold at about N140 per litre. However, against the importers’ and their bankers’ expectations, prices started falling. Through this the importers incurred heavy losses.Again, the banks influenced by greed and their level of solvency threw so much money into the oil sector because they considered the sector as the honey pot that yielded quick and fantastic returns.
A source said that there are many factors that prompted the oil companies to also seek for loans, one of which was that some of them have no genuine intention to pay back the loans.
The loans, the source said were used for other purposes that were also hit by the economic recession and this has made it difficult for them to repay back the loans.
There have also been allegations of diversion of some of the loans by the oil companies to real estates. Unfortunately, the sector like other sectors of the economy also crashed, leaving their investments in danger.
Some of the oil companies were said to have taken loans to import products at higher prices only to sell at much lower prices in the bid to under-cut the established oil companies and gain popularity among consumers. While this was going on, the prices of the product plummeted and have not risen since that time. So, rather than make returns on their investments, the firms were recording loses.
Compounding the problems associated with the loans, was the steady upward movement of interest rates, exchange rate fluctuations and the devaluation of naira which some of the firms could hardly cope with because of their capital base.
For instance, the exchange rate was $1 to N117 as at the time the imports were made before they could arrive the country the exchange rate had risen to N150 to $1.
This situation made oil marketing companies to threaten to stop fuel importation into the country. They consequently gave conditions under which they would import products especially Premium Motor Spirit or petrol.
The private sector which imports at leat 50 per cent of the nation’s Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) requirements under the Petroleum Subsidy Fund (PSF) scheme while Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) delivered the balance were aggrieved that the government was not paying them what could cover their cost of importation.
The exchange rate was beyond what was provided for the Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) import template. As a result, when the verified private sector subsidy claims for the third quarter of 2008 of $1,189,964,305.45 was paid in naira, on the 10th of January, 2009 at the rate of N117.91, the naira payment of N139,225,823,738.27, could only purchase $870,161,398.36 at the prevailing exchange rate thereby leaving a shortfall of $319,802,907.09, a sum equivalent to the nation’s cost of PMS import for a month.”
By virtue of the Clause 3.3 of the agreement between the PPPRA and importers on PSF, subsidy payment should be made monthly and within 15 days of submission of claim.
They argued that they were unable to recover these additional costs from the regulated pump price. The marketers had to fight for a foreign currency window to be made available for PMS importation, at current market trends. The private sector requires between $200m. $250m monthly for importation of petroleum products.
To ensure continuous supply of products, the marketers stated that they would require the following.
Immediate payment of all outstanding cost and exchange rate differential.
All payments for subsidy claims or contribution should be based on the prevailing exchange rate.
Interest on late payments of subsidy claims should be paid on past claims to enable importers recover cost of funding.
Current interest rate as a result of worldwide economic situation must be reflected in the template, PPPRA and Ministry of Finance must make payment within the period stipulated in the contract to avoid additional costs.
Foreign exchange availability is a precondition for guaranteed supply of petroleum products in some of the relatively new companies engaged in frivolous extravagance in their attempt to be heard and seen in places where ordinarily they should not be. A couple of them spend valuable time lobbying lawmakers and sponsoring government officials to international events and seminars without taking a look at the implications of the flamboyant lives on the business they are doing.
The government liberalisation of the sector which gave room to all manner of people coming into the sector with the hope of bringing in products and getting refunds through the Petroleum Support Fund (PSF) did not help matters. But this was not forthcoming on time as the government had to delay for a long while before paying up the difference between the landing cost of the products and the official price at the pump stations.
Lack of human capacity in the energy sector by most of the banks was a major snag in the way the banks transact their oil businesses. This has resulted in their inability to do due credit analysis on the various companies that were given the loans even as some of the companies that received credits did not have storage facilities. They are brokers or bulk purchasers who go about to beg fellow operators with depot to assist them with letters stating that they would be allowed to use their facility in order that federal government may give them licence to import products.
A particular company among the ones listed as owing some of the banks was alleged to have imported four ship loads of Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) without having any storage facilities. The ships were said to have stayed for 60 days on the Nigerian territorial waters without much success before they sailed back to Europe.
Culled from Business Day

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Navy Destroys 14 Illegal Refineries, Confiscates N2.7bn Refined Products

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Troops of the Nigerian Navy conducting Operation “Dakatar Da Barawo” confiscated crude oil and other illegally refined products worth N2.7billion in June.
This is contained in a statement issued by the Director of Information, Naval Headquarters, Commodore Adedotun Ayo-Vaughan in Abuja.
“The various NN platforms deployed for ‘Operation Dakatar Da Barawo, Calm Waters 11’ and Tripartite Joint Border Patrol, have continued to sustain aggressive patrols to curb the menace of crude oil theft and illegal oil bunkering.
“Accordingly, several Illegal Refining Sites (IRS), metal storage tanks, wooden boats, dugout pits and ovens were destroyed between June 13 and June 19”.
He said five suspects were and the operatives destroyed 14 Illegal refining sites.
The Navy also said that 80 storage tanks, 22 wooden boats, 40 ovens, two-speed boats, a tanker, truck, barge and a Toyota Sienna car were recovered during the various operations during the period.
Similarly, Navy ship VICTORY in Cross River intercepted and impounded three wooden boats laden with drums of suspected illegally Refined Petrol (PMS) around Ikang channel, suspected to be transported to Cameroon.
However, the Navy said, the boats, as well as the products, were taken into custody.
Ayo-Vaughan said,”Forward Operating Base (FOB) Bonny in Rivers” also intercepted two wooden boats laden with about 400,000 litres of suspected stolen crude oil at Iwokiri.
The wooden boats and products, he said, were destroyed.
Similarly, he said, the Navy ship SOROH in Bayelsa intercepted a wooden boat laden with about 60,000 litres of suspected illegally refined AGO.
Subsequently, the boat and contents, he added was destroyed.

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FAAC: Federal, States, LGs Share N680.780bn May Revenue Allocation

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The Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) has shared May 2022 Federation Revenue Allocation to the federal, states and local government councils to the tune of N680.783billion.
This is contained in a communiqué issued at the end of June 2022 FAAC meeting held in Abuja.
According to the communiqué, the N680.783billion total distributable revenue comprised distributable statutory revenue of N385.004billion, distributable Value Added Tax (VAT) revenue of N198.512billion and Electronic Money Transfer Levy (EMTL) revenue of N97.267billion.
In May, 2022, the total deductions for cost of collection were N36.996billion and total deductions for transfers and refunds were N186.672billion.
The balance in the Excess Crude Account (ECA) was $35.377million.
The communiqué confirmed that from the total distributable revenue of N680.783billion; the Federal Government received N229.563billion, the state governments received N241.824billion and the local government councils received N175.942billion.
The sum of N33.454billion was shared to the relevant states as 13percent derivation revenue.
Gross statutory revenue of N589.952billion was received for the month of May, 2022.
This was lower than the N635.037billion received in the previous month by N45.085billion.
From the N385.004billion distributable statutory revenue, the Federal Government received N185.197billion, the state governments received N93.934billion and the local government councils received N72.419billion.
The sum of N33.454billion was shared to the relevant states as 13percent derivation revenue.
In the month of May, 2022, the gross revenue available from the Value Added Tax (VAT) was N213.179billion.
This was higher than the N178.825billion available in the month of April, 2022 by N34.354billion.
From the N198.512billion distributable Value Added Tax (VAT) revenue, the Federal Government received N29.777billion, the state governments received N99.256billion and the local government councils received N69.479billion.
The Federal Government received N14.590billion; the state governments received N48.634billion and the local government councils received N34.043billion from the N97.267billion Electronic Money Transfer Levy (EMTL).
According to the communiqué, in the month of May, 2022, Companies Income Tax (CIT) and Value Added Tax (VAT) recorded considerable increases, Import Duty increased marginally while Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT) and Excise Duties decreased marginally.
Oil and Gas Royalties decreased significantly.

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FG Hands Over Licences To 57 Marginal Oil Field Investors, ‘Morrow

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The Federal Government has announced that the successful investors in Nigeria’s 57 marginal oil fields for the 2022 bid round would get their various Petroleum Prospecting Licences, tomorrow.
On May 31, 2021, the defunct Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) issued letters of award to investors for the production of crude oil from 57 marginal fields.
Last January, the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) announced that a total of 128 awardees emerged as successful bidders in the bid round and had made complete and part payments for signature bonuses in the oil fields.
It also disclosed at the time that 33 awardees did not make payments during the 45 days window given to successful bidders to pay the required signature bonuses for the oil fields and as such had lost their awards to suitably qualified reserve bidders.
Providing updates on the bid round in Abuja, last Saturday, the Chief Executive, NUPRC, Gbenga Komolafe, announced that the successful awardees would get their licences by Tuesday.
He said, “In fulfillment of the promise made early this year, the NUPRC will on Tuesday in Abuja, issue Petroleum Prospecting Licences to successful awardees of marginal fields in the 2020 bid round, pursuant to the provisions of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021.
“It will also unveil the implementation template for the host communities’ development trust for commencement of the provisions under Section 235 of the PIA, 2021, to positively impact against restiveness in the host communities.”
Komolafe said implementing the development trust would guarantee seamless operations, boost investors’ confidence and provide enabling environment for sustainable improvement of the country’s hydrocarbon resources.
“These will mark the conclusion of some of the most urgent and critical tasks inherited by the commission when it was inaugurated in October, 2021, after the signing into law of the PIA 2021,” he stated.
The commission had in March this year informed all participants in the 2020 marginal field bid round programme that it had put all necessary machinery in place to progress the bid round exercise to conclusion in line with the PIA 2021.
In furtherance of that resolution, the commission constituted an in-house work team to distill and address the concerns of awardees with a view to close out issues affecting multiple awardees per asset and formation of Special Purpose Vehicles by awardees in line with the respective letters of award.
“Awardees were therefore enjoined to avail themselves of the resolution mechanism provided by the commission in the overriding national interest,” Komolafe stated.
He added, “The successful coordination and resolution of the issues culminated in the emergence of the successful awardees that would be handed over licences on Tuesday.”

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