A reputable indigenous consultant in the energy sector has commended Governor Udom Emmanuel for his firm disposition against mortgaging the future of the state for peanuts in the ill-fated sale of ExxonMobil’s assets to Seplat.
Mr Mkposong Asuquo made the commendation at the weekend via a telephone conversation with our correspondent on the issue of Presidential withdrawal of approval on the ExxonMobil-Seplat assets sale deal.
Lauding the governor for his probity, Asuquo said: “Gov Emmanuel would have taken a share and pocket over $200M to compromise but as an upright leader, he refused and placed a caveat on the ExxonMobil-Seplat fraud”, asserting that he is proud that he voted the former banker into office in 2015 and 2019 respectively.
Asuquo maintained that Akwa Ibom as a joint asset owner has the contractual right of first refusal, therefore, he was ready to envelope his contracting skills and prowess to ensure that the State produces a consortium that can purchase the assets from ExxonMobil and turn it into an Exploration and Production concern for the state.
”We can do this and more rather than sitting on the fence with a desire to get peanuts. We just have to encourage Governor Emmanuel.
“Whether we wish to have an interface with Seplat or any of the indigenous IOCs in future, is not a problem. For now, we must resist peanuts and join hands with the governor at the dialogue table, geared towards bringing sustainable development and prosperity to the state,” he said.
He bemoaned what he described as ‘a less show of interest in energy politics by Akwa Ibom people’, calling for enormous platform in encouraging youths to be more particular in energy politics as the state is the largest producer of hydrocarbon in the country.
He further described the ill-fated and contemptuous process of the acquisition of the ExxonMobil’s 40 percent shares by Seplatas barbaric and unacceptable.
Asuquo commended President Muhammadu Buhari and the chief executive of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, NUPRC, Mr Gbenga Komolafe, for their quick reversal on the decision to assent to the sale of ExxonMobil shares to Seplat.
He said he was optimistic that in no time soon, Akwa Ibom people would come to understand energy politics and take a leaf from the Middle East, which is thriving so much to engage in vital resources, strategic calculations, prominent emphasis on exploration, production, refining, marketing and exportation of petroleum products due to their indept understanding of how it works.
The energy consultant whose intellectual property in the industry is top notch, having worked several years within the sector in the country including QPR in NNPC, said that there is a mechanism for the joint venture operations with NNPC at 60 percent and ExxonMobil at 40 percent including a memorandum with the state government who is the host to the assets.
He explained that a partnership which span for over 60 years with less attention given to the owners of resources, despite the fact that ExxonMobil generated up to $40 billion of cash flow from operations the highest level since 2012, more than covering capital investment, debt reduction, and dividend, noting that the company only at the closure of their investment feels to turn into mafia and sell the state’s resources and their asset to Seplat ,describing such act as an insult.
“Akwa Ibom got into a business relationship that lasted for over 69 years and the transaction witnessed slow poisoning of waters of the state and destruction of vegetation by oil spills which occur during petroleum operations.
“Since the inception of the energy industry in Nigeria, many years ago, there has been no concern and effective effort on the part of the government, let alone the operators, to control environmental problems associated with the industry and after these losses, ExxonMobil deemed it proper to disband the memorandum fraudulently,” he stated.
He maintained that he has conducted the competent person’s report (CPR) of those assets and the wealth is not what the state should throw to those who bribed people within the corridors of power up to 100M USD just to impoverish the people of Akwa Ibom, hence, the call on conceptive and collaborative efforts from all and sundry to push for more synergy in developing the sector.
Asuquo is a fellow of the chartered institute of management consultants; member, American Chemical Society and the chief operating officer (COO) of Inter-Africa Global consultants.