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Tuesday, 4 October 2016

FG sues Shell to court over crude oil theft.

– Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria has been sued to court by the FG– Shell, Chevron and Agip among others are being accused of crude oil theft– In total about 15 oil companies are being targeted by the federal government for oil theft Royal Dutch Shell The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited and its surrogate Shell Western Supply & Trading Limited are both in deep trouble as the Nigerian federal government moves against them.Both have been accused of crude oil theft with the government demanding $406.75 million minimum.According to Vanguard the amount being demanded as the court papers prove represents the shortfall of the money that should have been paid bythe multinational oil firm into the account of the Nigerian government with CBN, for crude oil lifted in 2013 and 2014.Professor Fabian Ajogwu  who is the federal government lawyer, accused the oil company of not declaring or under-declaring crude oil shipments during the period.Ajogwu, following forensic analysis of bills of lading and shipping documents, armed with  sworn affidavits of  three United States of America based professionals,  claimed that Shell cheated Nigeria of the revenue.
Other professionals employed by the Federal Government of Nigeria on this case are: Professor David Olowokere, a US citizen who is the lead Analyst at Loumos Group LLC, a technology and oil and gas auditing firm based in United States of America and  Jerome Stanley, a counsel in the law firm of Henchy&Hackenberg, a law firm  based in United States of America and head ofthe legal team engaged by Loumo Group LLC.The third professional is Micheal Kanko a citizen of the USA and resident of the state of Arizona , who is the founder and the current Chief Executive Officer of Trade Data services Company.These experts working together wereable to track the movements of  Nigeria’s crude oil and gas with the purpose of identifying the companiesengaged in the practices that led to missing revenues from crude oil and gas exports sales to different parts of the world.When they reconciled the export records from Nigeria, with the import records at  ports in  the USA, the experts found major discrepancies.For example, on January 6, 2013 Shell lifted crude oil  using the vesselAUTHENTIC and shipped same to BP Oil Supply of 28301 Ferry  Road, Warrenville, Illinois, USA at the port ofChester, Pennsylvania, United States of America.
The shipment had the Bill of lading number ALMYSVDM161212A3. This particular  shipment was not declared to the relevant authorities inNigeria,  resulting in the shortfall of 660,712 barrels of crude oil in the value of $72,678,320 as revenue to the Government.Also on January 3, 2013, Shell and itssurrogate company  lifted crude oil that resulted in the shortfall of 979,031 barrels  in the value of$107,693,410.On December 14, 2014, Shell also lifted crude oil using the  vessel EAGLE TUSCON and shipped same to Shell Deer Park of 5900 Texas 225,Deer Park, TX77536,USA at the port of Houston, Texas, USA with Bill of lading number AETK0909US14.The  shipment was not declared to the relevant authorities, resulting in the shortfall of 499,048 barrels of crude oil in the value of $54,895,280 as revenue to the Federal Government.These and other cases of theft are what the government is accusing Shell of. Therefore, on January 21, 2016 the Federal government through its lawyer wrote a letter to Shell drawing their attention to the  discrepancies.Government asked them to clarify thediscrepancies, with documentation, as a prelude to the repayment of the revenues and debt they now owe the government.However, till date Federal government has not received from the defendants any payment pursuant to the said letter nor the requested documents.

The government claims that it has suffered huge and enormous financial loss as a result of the defendants under-declaration of the value of the crude oil they lifted and exported to the USA.This is why the Nigerian government now seeks a court order  compelling the two companies to pay into the Federal government of Nigeria account with the Central Bank of Nigeria, the sum of USD 406,751,070 being the total value of the missing revenue from the shortfall /undeclared/under -declared crude oil shipments of the country, made by the companies to USA.Also the government demands that interest be paid at  21% per annum on the sum of $406,751,070 until the entire sum is liquidated.In addition is being asked to pay general exemplary damages in the sum of $406,751,070 and the cost of instituting the legal action.Mojisola Olatoregun Isola who is the presiding judge on the case has adjourned October 20, 2016. Shell is not alone in this, Nigeria has also sued Chevron, Total and Agip asking for a total of $12.7 billion over  alleged non-declaration of some 57 million barrels of crude shipped  to the United States between 2011 and 2014.These oil firms are among up to 15 oil majors targeted by the Nigerian government for the recovery of  $17 billion  in deprived revenue.Meanwhile, Honorable Johnson Agbonayinma of the Egor/Ikpoba-okha constituency in the House of Representatives alleged last month that$17 billion in oil and liquefied natural gas was exported from Nigeriawithout being properly declared between 2011 and 2014, when Goodluck Jonathan was still ruling.

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