ABUJA, July 24 (Reuters) - Nigeria's state oil firm said on Wednesday it had suspended cash call repayments to Eni for three months, and did not plan to renew some of the
REFILE-Nigeria's state oil firm has not paid Eni's cash call payments for 3 months - Reuters
July 24, 2019 / 3:25 PM / Updated 10 hours ago

REFILE-Nigeria's state oil firm has not paid Eni's cash call payments for 3 months

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ABUJA, July 24 (Reuters) - Nigeria’s state oil firm said on Wednesday it had suspended cash call repayments to Eni for three months, and did not plan to renew some of the Italian firm’s asset licences.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) owes billions of dollars to international oil companies, including Eni, its share of operating costs for their joint ventures. Of the original $5 billion owed two years ago, repaid through a system known as cash calls, about $3 billion is now outstanding.

But NNPC has withheld three months’ payment to Eni over a set of disputes. Delayed payments for the cash calls have hindered development of some of the country’s oil assets.

Among the issues raised by NNPC are that Eni’s licences for some oil assets have expired, but Nigeria’s government does not plan to renew them as it wants the state oil firm to take over.

The Nigerian firm did not specify which of Eni’s licences it would not renew.

“The failure to pay cash call arrears in the last three months was deliberate and meant to ensure that the issues surrounding the agreement (are) settled,” the NNPC said in a statement, adding it has the money to pay and expects a resolution by the end of the week.

Eni did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In its statement, NNPC also urged Eni to complete the first phase of rehabilitating Nigeria’s Port Harcourt refinery by the scheduled date of October, the statement said.

The statement added that Eni’s executive vice chair for sub-Saharan Africa, Brusco Guido, said the Italian firm listed a number of challenges that had hampered its operation and asked NNPC to help resolve them in order to meet its target of growing the joint ventures’ oil production by 30% over last year’s rate. (Reporting by Camillus Eboh in Abuja and Libby George in Lagos; additional reporting by Stephen Jewkes in Milan; writing by Paul Carsten; editing by David Evans)

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