By Victor Effik
Investigations into the controversies surrounding the escalated cost of NNPC/Chevron Escravos Gas to Liquids (EGTL) Plant has recorded a major breakthrough following the intervention of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria through its Committee on Gas chaired by Senator Bassey Albert Akpan.
It would be recalled that the Senate Committee on Gas commenced investigations into the escalated cost of completion of the Plant in 2016 to determine the rationale behind the cost escalation from the initial approved Project cost of $1.294billion to a whopping amount of $10.3billion, with a Joint Venture Shareholding of 25% to Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and 75% to Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL).
It would also be recalled that the sixth and seventh Assemblies of the Senate had investigated this Plant without success.
When the issue was brought to the attention of the 8th Senate, it was referred to the Senate Committee on Gas chaired by Senator Albert Bassey, which immediately swung into action.
After several meetings with the parties and subsequent analysis of all submissions made by both parties to the Committee in addition to the on-the-spot assessment of the EGTL Plant at Escravos in Delta State, the Committee thereafter resolved to midwife and guide a negotiation between NNPC and CNL to ensure maximum returns to the Federation.
The intervention of the Senate through its Committee on Gas has resulted in the reversion of the equity shareholding on the Plant to 60% to NNPC (Nigeria) and 40% to CNL.
The Committee further directed the immediate execution of the relevant agreed terms sheet and final settlement agreement between NNPC and CNL to reflect the new equity shareholding on the Plant in favour of Nigeria and thank all parties for their resilience during the negotiations.
A formal Report of the Committee on this investigation is to be laid at the Plenary upon resumption of the Senate in September 2018. “It must however be stated that what this Senate has saved the country cannot be quantified in monetary terms”, Senator Albert Bassey was quoted to have said.