Fear Grips Contractors, Indigines Of Oil Producing Communities And NAOC Staff As Oando Oil plc Takes Over The ENI’s wholly Owned Subsidiary

 By Lateef Adegbite and Elizabeth Chukwuma

Fear appears to have gipped contractors, Indigenes of the oil producing Communities in the Niger Delta states of Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta, Imo and Abia and the staff of ENI, an Italian Multi-national wholly owned subsidiary, Nigerian Oil company, NAOC.

 This is because  Oando Oil plc, a Nigerian integrated oil company that has Wale Tinubu, a relation of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the Managing Director, moves to take over the Italian oil giant    100% participatory interest in NAOC.

  The Contractors and indigenes of the hist Communities, particular, have feared that the new management of the whole owned subsidiary Company, will block all the areas used in making money by them at the community level like bidding for contracts   and making claims from oil locations.

 The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association, an affiliate of Trade Union Congress, TUC, NAOC, Chapter, on its’ part fears that 3,000 workers may be thrown to the job market from NAOC by the   new Oando Oil plc, Management.

 ENI had announced that it has entered into a Sales Agreement with Ondo Oil plc, a Nigerian oil firm    listed in the Nigerian Stock Exchange Market and the   Johannesburg Stock , to takeover control of its  100%  participating  interest  in NAOC , in order ‘‘to  focus more on  the  offshore  oil and  gas  exploration  and production  as well as power generation’’

  The Italian oil giant was emphatic that though it has agreed to hands off completely from NAOC OMLs operated 60 – 63 for the Nigeria integrated oil company to run, and which is expected to increase its participating interest in ENI’ OPL 282 and 135, but it was said to have made it clear to Nigerians and its’ competitors in the nation’s oil industry  that it will continue to operate in the West African country .    

       While ENI officials are happy leaving out its NAOC OMLs  60-63 operations to a Nigerian oil Company   operating in the country’s  upstream,  midstream   and downstream, they have assured the staff that the  Nigerian oil firm  will not withdraw any of their privileges, let alone sack any staff.

Aware of the fears of the contractors and indigenes the oil producing Communities, including the NAOC staff , Tinubu, the Oando boss had said that there was no cause for them to worry, as closing the transaction will further help’’ in  harnessing  the potentials of  the enhanced platform to the accrue vale for the oil bearing Communities , stakeholders  and other shareholders’’. 

 Although the  ENI  Management had repeatedly  said  that the NAOC  workers’  jobs are  safe and secure but that has failed to calm them.  The anger of  the  PENGASSAN, NAOC Chapter  leadership became pronounced  as  they  mobilised  members to protest  against   Oando Oil plc acquisition  of 100% shares in NAOC may have cleared the way for the Nigerian oil company   to take over the participating interest of  NAOC in  Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, , JV, ( Shell Production Development Company  Joint Venture  operator’s  30%, Total Energies 10% , NAOC 5% but Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC , now baptised Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, NNPCL, with the  signing  into Law of the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB,  passed by the National Assembly in August  2021, by  former president Muhammadu Buhari’s  55% not included in  perimeter of the transaction would still  be retained in ENI’s portfolio, the online Magazine learnt.

An aggrieved Ifeanyi, a top official of PENGASSAN, NAOC Chapter, had said that when information filtered out to the public domain about the planned sales of the company to Oando plc,   the union had had met with the Roberto Daniele’s led  management  on July 12, 2023,  to trash out  the matter  but   who were said to have allegedly denied that ‘’no such plan existed’’.    On Thursday, September 7, 2023, the Leadership of PENGASSAN, NAOC Chapter,   had mobilised  the workers to protest against the sales of the oil  company to  Oando plc.

  Despite the protest that was said to have been embarked upon by the PENGASSAN, NAOC Chapter members, to express home their grievances over the sale of the company to Oando Oil plc, the Association was said to have also  has threatened  ‘’to withdraw  its members  from all offices and oil field stations  ifthe sale is implemented.

 Eze Ifeanyi, Industrial Relations officer of the NAOC PENGASSAN Chapter, who was said to have spoken the mind of Festus Osifo, President, TUC, when he declared that ‘’ the union would not allow ‘’the transfer of any worker  to Oando plc  without due process being followed’’.

In spite of the fact that the sales deal  between ENI and Oando plc gave not not bee fully implemented , the union ,  withdrawal of its members from all NAOC offices,  field and gas stations in Rivers, Balyelsa, Delta, Abia and Imo states  was said to  have caused  the company  to lose  30,0000 b/d of crude oil , about 10msf of LNG gas supply to the Bonny based  Nigerian Liquefied Natural company , NLNG,  and about  350 MW   of Okpai  IPP power  to the national grid. The situation is so worrisomee  as  power supply  to most of the oil producing  communities  particular,,in Ogba/egbema/ Ndoni Local government Area of Rivers state were said to have been thrown  darkness since the crisis broke out and with the pople of Egbema community, blocking the Ebocha gas plant in anger.    

  Note, Officials of ENI, may have bowed to pressure to allow Oando plc, an integrated local energy company to take over its  100% of its  share – holding in NAOC, because of its believe that the company will continue with its   Net Zero  carbon  emissions policy which is expected to be completed by   2050, as well as promoting  efficient  and sustainable  access to energy  for all.

Going by the transaction highlights, the deal is going to increase   the Nigerian bound oil Company   current participating shares  in Oil Mining Lease, OML,  60, 61, 62 and 63 from the present 20% to 40% .Insiders further  disclosed that   the deal will increase  the company’s  stake in all  NAOC/OOL , Joint Venture  assets  and infrastructure  which according to informed sources   include 40 new discovered oil  and gas fields . At present twenty  four of the new oil and gas fields are said to be producing, approximately  forty identified  prospect and leads,  twelve production stations,  approximately  1,190 km of pipelines, three gas processing plants, the Brass oil terminal, the Kwale- Okpai phases I&II power plants , with a total nameplate capacity  of 960 MW and associate infrastructure.

A source   old The Value News  that  until Oando and ENI, entered into the sales deal,  the former’s total reserves  as at 2021,  was only 503.3 Nboe but  the new deal is expected to increase the Oando plc’s total oil reserves   to over 98%.  There are indications that it would also increase the integrated energy firm exploration asset  portfolio   through the acquisition  of a 90% interest in OPL 282,  and 48%  interest in OPL 135.

An elated Tinubu, the Oando plc, Chief Executive Office, CEO, who is very happy that the sales deal with ENI to take over its 100%  participating shareholdings  in NAOC, has been achieved after several years of behind the manoeuvring n and who could not hide his feelings had said that ‘’the synergies created by the acquisition of ENI shares in NAOC   will unlock the unparalleled opportunities   for the company to re-align expectation and significantly increase production level in the tears ahead’’.

He had said that ‘’the realignment with the company’s strategy of acquiring other assets’’ , will go a long way’’ in enhancing, appraising and efficiently developing its reserves’’. Indeed, with the great milestone that had been achieved by the two companies may have informed why the Oando officials had said that they look forward ‘’ toward completing the transaction which is still subject to the ministerial approval and other required regulatory agencies consent’’.

Notwithstanding, the Management of Oando Oil plc, have concluded arrangement to fully takeover of the ENI’s 100% participating interest in NAOC’S OMLs 60 – 63 , Ali Zarah, the Managing Director of  NNPCL   Exploration and production Limited, a subsidiary of NNPCL, under the close watch of Mele Kolo Kyari,  in a letter dated September 4, 2023,  addressed  to Daniele, the Managing Director, of NAOC,   had queried the purported divestment  of ENI’s  shares  to Oando Oil plc.


The NNPCL subsidiary had said   that if the purported divestment news making the rounds was true ‘’it would have the following  ‘’far reaching contractual   and legal  implications  in relation to  the Joint Operating  Agreement  dated July 1991, governing  the operations  of the NAOC/NEPL/OOL Joint  Venture.

 Recall that Clause 19, sub-session  1.1 of the JOA  was had stated  that  ‘’no party  may divest or transfer  its interest  or any part thereof  without prior  written consent   of the other parties, which consent  must  not be  unreasonably withheld’’.

The message  was clear that ENI in seeking to  transfer  the whole of  its 100% participating shares in NAOC , ought to have sought  the prior  written  consent  of the other parties involved in JVA, but failed to do so. The  NNPCL Management may have shocked Nigerians when it  disclosed that ENI, the Italian oil giant  never informed them  of any proposed  divestment of its participating interest in NAOC   to Oando Oil plc  or the NAOC Management   making effort to obtain   the mandatory  pre-divestment  written consent  and approval from  NEPCL, in accordance  with clause 19 , subsession  1.1 of the JVA. 

The NEPL Management may have made it clear to those that cares to listen that‘ ’the ENI’s divestment from NAOC was illegal when it stated that ‘’it constitutes   a grave breach  of the terms  of the JOA’’ ,  It stated that it  is  its entitlement    ‘’to invalidate  the purported  divestment  of ENI’s 100% participatory interest in NAOC to Oando Oil plc. Nigerians are watching to see the end result of the  ENI’s Sale  of its100% shares in NAOC to Oando Oil plc.     

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