By ADEBIYI ADEDAPO, Abuja –
An ad hoc committee on the House of Representatives investigating revenue leakages in the oil and gas sector from January 2016 to January 2017, yesterday disputed claims by Chevron Nigeria that it flared only $15,000 worth of gas in its oil fields in 2016.
Chairman of the committee, Hon Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe ruled that Chevron should appear before the committee with its technical team.
Jarigbe insisted that since certain document vital to the investigation were not available, the committee may be forced to move the public hearing since it cannot approach the issues without having all the facts available to it.
The committee also questioned the weight and measure of gas flaring, the meter used as well as who determined the penalty. Jarigbe hereby demanded for details of all sub-heads payment from the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR),
The Chairman of the House Committee on Nigeria-US relations, Hon. Johnson Agbonayinma who is a member of the committee had noted that crude Compensates have specified amount of royalty they attract, but wondered how Chevron arrived at the $15,000 paid for gas flared in 2016 and if they used meter to measure the quantity of gas flared.
Agbonayinma noted that the DPR has accused the IOCs of owing government and also does not have the meter used in measuring gas flaring, asking who owns the meter.
But the director in charge of Government Relations at Chevron, Senator Gbenga Aluko, in his response explained that the DPR usually measures the volume and charge the penalties accordingly.
Aluko noted that gas flaring by Chevron has been cut down by 96 percent and whatever amount they have paid on the receipts were all generated by the DPR.
“The company is in a 60/40 joint venture with government, and every receipt seen here was given by the DPR,’’ he stated.
Dissatisfied with Aluko’s submission, Agbonayinma said; “you are telling us that you owe only $15,000 of gas flaring penalty and we are saying that how did you determine the quantity of gas you flared and who measured it?
He asked if the Chevron representative would agree with the panel that the $3.5cents being charged by the DPR for condensates production is meagre, the company’s representative said he would be happier if the fee could come down than it is, as no business entity likes to lose money.
Hon. Agbonayinma then suggested that the DPR be asked to submit documents relating to Chevron so as to enable the panel ascertain the veracity of what has been presented.