Aiteo Group, owners of the prolific oil asset, oil mining lease (OML) 29, located in the oil rich Niger Delta region of Nigeria, Tuesday issued a strong statement in London, United Kingdom, against what it described as suggestions that a portion of the shareholding of the company that holds the asset has put it up for sale to repay a loan.
The company condemned the peddling of such information and said in the statement made available to www.businessamlive.com that it was raising the alarm against the group it described as “some fraudsters running a reports-for-cash syndicate”, adding that it had earlier drawn attention to this group’s nefarious activities previously.
It stressed that to avoid any misconception, the oil asset, OML 29, was “indisputably, legitimately and transparently secured in an internationally conducted divestment by the private entity, Shell.”
Aiteo noted that the funding of the acquisition of OML 29 was made possible through a syndicated loan involving several Nigerian banks, adding that since the acquisition it has continued to meet its financial obligations as and when due, “like every other responsible, global conglomerate of our stature”.
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It is not clear why such false information is being peddled at this time, but industry sources say in an opaque Nigerian oil environment that is very much politically charged and leveraged, “people are always up for mischief, flying all manner of kites.”
The statement issued reads in part: “For the avoidance of doubt, Aiteo (www.AiteoGroup.com) has neither considered, initiated, nor announced the commencement of any plans to sell off ANY of its stake in OML 29. The reasons are patently clear. First, since the takeover of the asset, we have successfully quadrupled production that it would be commercially inept to consider a disposal of any sort, now. Second, there are several legitimate entities that constitute ownership of the oil block, such that it would be practically impossible for us to unilaterally consider disposing of the asset. As such, we urge the public to summarily disregard these unsavoury and fabricated reports in their entirety.
“The claim that Bruce Burrows’ recent appointment as our Chief Financial Officer is aimed at finding a buyer for part of Aiteo’s assets is spurious and demonstrates that the publishers’ understanding of the commercial realities in the operation of assets such as OML 29 is shallow.
“All of our stakeholders familiar with our strategic vision can attest that Aiteo continues to invest in the right people to deliver on that vision. Mr. Burrows’ appointment is simply to further strengthen our financial discipline as one of the most innovative, reliable and diverse oil and gas companies operating in Nigeria today. Burrows joins a team of highly trained, experienced and world-class talent that currently guide the day to day activities of Aiteo.
“Aiteo is professionally run with strong corporate governance practices very actively in place and within a structure that insulates the company from the vagaries that typify the Nigerian one-man entity. As we have repeatedly asked, we wish to be allowed to continue to prosecute the drive and vision that we have committedly pursued to place ourselves and the country at the cutting edge of the Oil Industry, worldwide. Those who seek to distract us from this objective will find that we will defend our position and integrity with the same application and commitment as we continue to demonstrate the success we have achieved!”