4 January 2019

Liberia: Srimex Dismisses Claims By Eco Fuel

One of Liberia's leading importers of petroleum products, SRIMEX Oil & Gas Company has rubbished claims that its operations of the oil terminal in Monrovia is illegal and that its operation also poses safety risk.

In a statement issued on Thursday, January 3, 2019 and signed by Board Chairman, Musa Hassan Bility and CEO Wadei Powell, Srimex also denies claims in the media by Eco Fuel SA that the Liberian-owned company owes its money and was trying to dupe it out of a partnership agreement.

"Srimex wants to make it categorically clear that it has qualified personnel to operate the oil terminal and it has put in place all safety measures, which pose no risk to lives and properties," a release said.

The company in the release termed Eco Fuel SA's recent statement in the media as rubbished and misinformation, noting that since its petroleum trade relationship with this company between 20014-2017, Srimex has been operating in full compliance with the agreement and laws of Liberia up to the ongoing court case with Eco Fuel.

"We have always been and we remain open to settling these matters in a fair and equitable manner. However, we will not be intimidated by any attempt by Eco Fuel," Srimex noted in the release.

According to Srimex, Eco Fuel has to date refused to sign the Joint Venture Agreement and also refused to include SRIMEX as partners on the registration documents of FZE, making several illegal and failed attempts to establish itself as sole owners of the terminal.

As a result, Srimex says it and Eco Fuel are currently involved in two ongoing law suits. One lawsuit is to ascertain actual amounts owed to each entity by the other, while the other is to establish legal ownership of a terminal.

Meanwhile, SRIMEX has welcomed questions from all credible news outlets and the general public about this matter.

The release recalled that in 2015, after several successful petroleum trade transactions, SRIMEX and Eco Fuel agreed to undertake a joint venture project for the construction of a storage terminal. Both entities would have 50/50 partnership in a company to be created and named SRIMEX Eco Fuel FZE (FZE) and registered and incorporated as a holding company in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

FZE would have three (3) subsidiaries registered in Liberia as follows: (1) SRIMEX Eco Fuel FZE, Inc. (Terminal Holding), (2) Liberia Oil Company - LOC (Petroleum Trading) and (3) Liberia Petroleum Storage Company - LPSC (Petroleum Storage).

Registration of FZE in the UAE would be handled by Eco Fuel. Registration of the 3 entities in Liberia would be handled by SRIMEX. SRIMEX and Eco Fuel would both jointly own, manage, operate FZE and its subsidiaries and share in revenue generated by FZE on a 50/50 basis. SRIMEX would provide, as its equity for 50% ownership in the company, its existing land lease with NPA, its existing franchise with LPRC through the Concession Agreement, and payment of all local costs associated with taxes, government obligations, local accommodations, and transportation, registration, etc.

"Eco Fuel would provide, as its equity for 50% ownership in the company, costs associated with construction of the terminal.

This verbal agreement would be consummated in a Joint Venture Partnership Agreement ("JV Agreement").

Upon finalization of the JV Agreement and registration of the company as described above, SRIMEX would transfer its rights under the NPA and LPRC Agreements to the FZE," the release noted.

In August 2018, the release said contrary to the agreements to finalize the JV Agreement and audit all accounts, Eco Fuel again requested payment of the debt from SRIMEX.

SRIMEX again reiterated to Eco Fuel that this needed to be settled holistically as part of the larger discussions of monies owed to Eco Fuel from petroleum sales and monies owed to SRIMEX from the terminal operations.

SRIMEX subsequently received a demand letter from Eco Fuel's lawyers for full payment of debt owed.


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