Nigerian Oil Firm, Eroton, Accuses Sahara Of Using Unknown Gunmen To Takeover Oilfield

Nigerian Oil Firm, Eroton, Accuses Sahara Of Using Unknown Gunmen To Takeover Oilfield

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Oil firm, Eroton Exploration and Production Company, said the Joint Venture (JV) partner in Oil Mining Licence (OML) 18 oilfield in Niger Delta, Sahara, used unknown armed men to displace some of its staff.

Eroton said the unknown gunmen gained entry into the Alakiri Gas Plant on 24 February 2023, amid allegations that Eroton was not meeting its contractual obligations. 

The company said it “would like to stress that Eroton remains the operator of OML 18 despite the attempts of forced displacement of some Eroton staff from our Alakiri Gas Plant on February 24, 2023, by armed and unknown men who claimed to be representatives of the other JV partner, Sahara,” a statement released on 26 February 2023 reads.

There have been reports that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited has taken over the oilfield from Eroton, but the company denied losing the oil asset, stating that based on contractual procedure, the firm is still the operator of OML 18.

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“First, it is important to state that Eroton remains the Operator of OML 18. The issue of operatorship of OML 18 is a contractual one and is governed by the joint operating agreement among participating entities. 

“We wish to inform the public and our partners that in discussing any change of the operator under the joint operating agreement, there is a clearly defined process, which has not been followed. 

“Therefore, any purported change by any other party is nullity ab-initio and without any effect whatsoever,” Eroton said in the statement.

The company further revealed that it is not to blame for the failure of the OML 18 to pump crude, “We wish to clarify and state that these allegations are baseless and unfounded and, as stated above, the due process of the law in line with the joint operating agreement and the rule of law has been breached in the futile attempt to displace the valid and subsisting operator of the joint venture. 

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“Furthermore, we would like to make it clear that any lack of production from OML 18 alluded to in the false reporting, has been primarily due to the unavailability of Nembe Creek Trunk Line in the last two years and not to any production issues suffered by Eroton,” the firm said. 

There are also reports that Eroton is under financial impropriety investigation conducted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

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