Following months of inaction brought on by a variety of concerns, including money being diverted, governance violations, and debt to JV partners, the administration of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited has taken over the operatorship of the Oil Mining License (OML) 18.
Additional justifications for the takeover were Eroton's inability to fulfill contractual responsibilities, work schedules, and its committed Field Development plan, as well as its ongoing debt to the Federal Government and the FIRS's closure of office space for more than a year.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission intervened, according to a prominent industry source, after NNPCL acquired the operatorship of the asset with the support of the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission.
Although there had been issues with the NCTL pipeline, Eroton is said to owe both Shell and Aiteo over $80m in outstanding levies and all the barge operators it had hired to evacuate the crude.
According to the insider, "This whole situation is pretty sad, especially in times like these when the government should be making significant sums from fields like these that are capable of at least 60,000bbls p/d."
"As we speak, the Federal Inland Revenue Service has sealed the Eroton office in Victoria Island, Lagos due to non-remittance of taxes to the government totaling tens of millions of dollars. Eroton is currently hampered by a plethora of legal proceedings, including ongoing lawsuits brought by various parties against the company, allegations of fraud, and flagrant financial mismanagement. In order to allow the seamless restart of operations on OML 18, it is in the best interest of the country that the asset has been taken over by NNPC.
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