The House of Representatives has commenced a probe of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’s (NNPC) $163 billion Joint Venture operations with oil companies.

The House Ad-hoc committee on Abandoned Property, saddled with the investigation, is also probing the status of abandoned NNPC property nationwide.

The panel at an investigative hearing, yesterday, quizzed the Managing Director, NNPC Properties Limited, Musa Yahaya Hamza, on the status of the onshore or offshore assets of the Corporation.

A member of the panel, Ibrahim Isiaka, said apart from the $163 billion JV operations, the parliament is concerned about the status of all the onshore and offshore assets belonging to the  NNPC and International Oil Companies (IOCs).

Isiaka noted that it was worrisome that most of the assets have been abandoned, after commissioning, and were constituting environmental hazards.

According to him, “the pipeline networks most times are not properly disposed of. That is one leg. The second leg is that it is estimated that $163bn worth of joint venture operations had existed between the NNPC and most oil companies, which along the line, we don’t really know what happened until you told it openly before us as a National Assembly on how we can come to intervene through legislative means and have this resolved

“The third leg is about your own assets – owned by the NNPC… In this wise, the committee will just want to see the list of physical assets owned by NNPC, then those you are holding forth hitherto on behalf of Nigerians under your production sharing contracts with IOCs, both onshore and offshore, and those that have been abandoned; the steps that you have taken or that you are going to take; the process and procedure and those that you have actually decommissioned.

“Give us the process and the procedure and submit documents to the committee. Then, we would be able to relate with you further on those four clarifications that we want to seek.”

However, in his response, Hamza, who stood in for the Group Managing Director Director (GMD), Mele Kyari, said he cannot speak on the JV operations, as his agency is only concerned with NNPC’s landed assets.

He noted that the National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS) is in a better position to explain the $163 billion JV operations.

“On the question of the assets in the joint venture businesses that NNPC has with other companies, I think NAPIMS is the right person to get to give you those verifications. We are here controlling only the landed assets; that is, the buildings and land. 

“So, I am not going to do justice in terms of telling you anything about these things. But I know a little bit, a snippet that NAPIMS is trying to take stock of all those assets but I cannot do justice really answering any question on their behalf now.”