Conflict of interest between Mobil Producing Nigeria and the National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS), a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), may delay the award of a gas pipeline contract worth over $250 million in Nigeria.
The contract, which is for the laying of gas export subsea line from Oso Riser Platform to Mobil's Qua Iboe Terminal, Ibeno, was awarded to West African Ventures Ltd in 2014, and later cancelled few weeks ago because of the company's inability to begin work on it after four years, a source close to Mobil and NNPC told PREMIUM TIMES, Friday.
The process of re-awarding the contract to a new company, the source said, is generating tension between Mobil and NAPIMS, as the two organisations are backing two different companies for the job.
While Nigerstar7 is NAPIMS' favourite for the contract, Mobil's officials are said to be pushing for it to be awarded to Saipem.
Both Nigerstar7 and Saipem had participated in the 2012 bid for the pipeline contract which they lost to West African Ventures.
In the bidding, NigerStar7 was the second lowest bidder, and Saipem, third, in NAPIMS' evaluation, while Saipem was second, and NigerStar7, third, in Mobil's evaluation, PREMIUM TIMES learnt.
Some officials of NAPIMS, however, are said to be in favour of a fresh competitive bidding.
West African Ventures declined comment for the story.
"The company has been negotiating the contract with Mobil for four years now," said a source close to West African Ventures who didn't want his name mentioned because he was not authorised to speak on behalf of the company.
When PREMIUM TIMES contacted Mobil, the company's spokesperson, Ogechukwu Udeagha, requested that an email should be sent to him.
Mr Udeagha later acknowledged receiving the mail which this newspaper sent to him, but declined comment on the issues raised in it.
The NNPC spokesperson, Ndu Ughamadu, on Wednesday, promised to respond to questions raised by PREMIUM TIMES.
He is yet to get back to PREMIUM TIMES as at the time of filing this report.