Justice Daniel Osiagor of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos has directed Access Bank Plc, Guaranty Trust Holding Company PLC and 16 other commercial banks in Nigeria, to freeze any amount of money standing to the credit of accounts belonging to Petralon 54 Limited; Petralon Energy Limited and Tako E&P Solutions Limited TAKO E&P Solutions Limited (part of Funtay Group of companies), for alleged failure to declare the total quantity of crude oil sold, amount sold and royalty paid to the Nigerian Government and and the balance left.
The Federal High Court Judge gave the orders, following a suit marked FHC/L/CS/1686/22, filled by George Duru, applicant’s attorney, Eurafric Energy Limited, under Motion Exparte, against the three companies and the Nigerian Regulatory Commission for Exploration and Production , listed on the third responder in the suit.
EnergyDay gathered that the three affected companies are first, second and forth defendants in the case.
Petralon 54 Ltd, a subsidiary of Petralon Energy Ltd, and TAKO E&P Solutions Limited (part of Funtay Group of companies) are Joint Venture (JV) technical partner and equity holders of Dawes Island OML 54 field awarded in 2021 and license awardee of the just concluded Petroleum Prospecting License No. 259 (PPL 259) held in June 2022.
The Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission(NUPRC) is the third defendant, in the suit FHC/L/CS/1686/22 filed by the plaintiff/applicant Eurafric Energy Limited.
The other banks affected by the order are, Ecobank Bank Plc, First Bank of Nigeria Plc; First City Monument Bank Plc; Geez Bank plc; Keystone Bank plc; Polaris Bank plc; and Stanbic Ibtc Bank Plc.
EnergyDay gathered that the Court instructed the 18 banks to disclose on oath, details of the amounts standing as credit balance in the respective accounts of the firms’ accounts. Justice Osiagor also instructed the deposit banks to file their affidavit of compliance within 14 days of receipt of the order.
The Judge also ordered the three companies, their agents, directors, representatives, and anyone working for them or trusting them, to disclose under oath the total amount of crude oil sold, the amount for which it was sold, royalty paid to the government and the remaining balance.
The Court further granted an interlocutory injunction restraining the defendants from tampering with, withdrawing or dissipating the proceeds of the sale of the crude oil produced by the JVs in the exploration operation at Dawes Island pursuant to the OML awarded to the plaintiff by the NUPRC, third defendant’s predecessor in title.
The court also ordered the three firms, their agents, directors, representatives and any person acting for or in trust for them, to disclose on oath the total quantity of crude sold, the amount for which it was sold, the royalty paid to government and the balance left.
EnergyDay’s check showed that the defunct Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) prior to the transition to NUPRC, had in April 2020, revoked the licence of Dawes island marginal field located in OPL 2006, Okrika, Rivers State from Euroafric energy Limited, over allegation that it operated for 16 years without attaining full production and failure to submit a field development plan for the asset. That field was revoked alongside 10 other marginal fields.
Awardees had collectively petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari, highlighting the effect of the revocation on their business, financial exposure, Nigerian economy in general and that of host communities in particular.
The President had then in a letter dated November 24, 2020, referenced PRES/88/MPR/72, approved the reinstatement of revoked Marginal fields to the affected companies. The petition is presently before House of Representatives Committee on Public Petitions.
Eurafric Energy had in a statement said it has contributed 51 percent of it expenditure on the Dawes Island Field, adding that despite the level of investment, the defunct DPR went ahead to award the field to Petralon 54 Limited, claiming that only Petralon 54 Limited expended funds in developing the field.
The Court is expected to further resume hearing on the suit resumes on Firday, October 14.