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Lawmakers probe Sterling Oil over alleged abuse of local content law

By The Nigeria Voice

The House of Representatives has called for the probe of Sterling Oil Exploration and Energy Production Company Limited (SEEPCO) over its alleged non-adherence to Nigeria’s local content law.

The decision was taken at the House plenary on Tuesday as a result of a motion sponsored by Ossai Nicholas Ossai (PDP, Delta) on the ‘Need to investigate Sterling Oil Exploration and Energy Production Company Limited (SEEPCO’s) Non-Compliance with Nigeria Local Content Act.’

The company is operating in Ndokwa/Ukwuani Federal Constituency of Delta state.

Presenting the motion, Ossai said the enactment of Nigeria’ Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act of 2010, popularly called the Local Content Act, was to provide a Legal Framework for increased Nigerians participation in all activities regarding exploration, exploitation, development, transportation and sale of crude oil and gas resources.

According to him, the Act specified 70% use of indigenous labour, materials and resources in all oil and gas projects in the Nigerian oil and gas industry.

According to the lawmaker, Sterling Oil Exploration and Energy Production Company Limited (SEEPCO) is an Indian company with businesses in six continents and several countries such as India, USA, China, Japan, Europe, Middle East and South East Asia.

He said the company ventured into Nigerian oil and gas market in 2005 and is presently producing crude oil in the Niger Delta.

He however lamented that most of the human and material resources and services being utilised by the company in the Niger Delta region particularly in Ndokwa/Ukwuani Federal Constituency are mostly Indians.

“Under the Local Content Act, it prescribed that the minimum Nigerian content requirement in any project, service or product specification to be executed in the Nigerian oil and gas industry shall be consistent with the level set-out in the Schedule to the Act.

“The neglect over the years by the Nigerian Content Monitoring Board that is saddled with responsibility to monitor, supervise and coordinate the Local Content Act, has grossly defeated the purpose of the prescribed minimum thresholds for Nigerian participation in the activities within the Nigerian oil and gas industry,” he added.

“Section 16 l(c) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 enjoins the Federal Government to “manage and operate major sectors of its economy,” thereby avoiding foreign domination of the economy”, he claimed.

The House of Representatives has mandated its Committees on Petroleum Resources (Upstream), Petroleum Resources (Downstream) and Nigerian Content and Monitoring Development to investigate the level of utilization of the Local Community and the Nigerian human and material resources by the company.

The committee is expected to report back within four weeks for further legislative action.

Credit: Ships&Ports