Lekoil Defers Payment Of $9.6 Mln For Oil Field After Phantom Loan Scandal
Nigerian oil firm Lekoil, which recently enmeshed in a phantom loan scandal has rescheduled payment for its Ogo oilfield near Lagos till May to enable the company to keep ownership of the oilfield.
In a statement, the company said it has agreed to make final payments totaling $9.6 million to Optimum Petroleum Development Company, the operator of the OPL 310 oilfield, by May 2, 2020.
The payment deferment was necessitated after the company discovered that the loan it wanted to use for the purchase was fraudulent.
Last week, the London Stock Exchange (LSE) listed firm discovered that a $184 million loan it had announced from the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) was a “complex facade” by individuals pretending to represent the QIA.
The companies also agreed to defer to July 2020 Lekoil’s need to prove it can fund 42.86 percent of drilling costs.
“We remain excited about the opportunities of OPL 310 and are focused on securing the necessary funding under the revised schedule,” said Lekan Akinyanmi, Lekoil’s chief executive.
“We are grateful for the support and commitment shown by our partner Optimum,” he said.
The audacious loan scam has cast doubt on Nigeria’s hopes that its indigenous oil and gas producers can fill the gap left by international oil majors such as Exxon Mobil Corp and Chevron Corp, which are trying to sell Nigerian assets to focus on projects elsewhere.
Lekoil said it paid a $600,000 commission to consultants Ghana-based Seawave Invest Ltd. for introducing the company to people who said they represented the QIA, and for arranging the $184 million loan for the development of the offshore Ogo field near Lagos.
A source familiar with the developments said the QIA first found out about the loan when Lekoil issued the statement on Jan. 2 and contacted the company immediately to tell them the loan was not legitimate.