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Federal High Court orders attachment of funds belonging to Oriental Energy Resources Limited in 13 banks 

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      Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke presiding over a Federal high court in Lagos south west Nigeria has restrained an Oil exploration and production company in Nigeria, Oriental Energy Resources Limited, and 13 banks listed before the court, whether by themselves Directors, Officers, or Agents, from withdrawing, transferring, removing any funds, properties or assets, outside the jurisdiction of Nigeria or encumbering any funds belonging to or held to the account of the Company with the banks except for payments of average salaries.

       Such payment must also be duly granted by the court upon request pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice. Justice Aneke also made an order restraining Oriental Energy Resource Limited either acting alone or in concert with the Central bank of Nigeria and Nigeria Petroleum Development Company from exporting, transferring or removing from the jurisdiction of the court any asset, Crude Oil or Gas due to the company from Ebok Marginal field or any other Oil block and/or transferring or diverting the proceeds therefrom to any bank account outside the jurisdiction of the court, pending hearing and determination of the motion on notice.
          An interim order was also made attaching and taking legal possession of all funds, deposits, credit, and receivables belonging to or due to the company with or in the custody of the 13 banks listed before the court, and directing each and every aforesaid Banks listed, as affected parties, to within 7days from the day of service of these orders file an affidavit disclosing the respective balances, funds, deposits, credit and receivables, held in or the account of the company at the date of the order supported by a certified print out of the statements of accounts covering three months, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.
    The order of the court was sequel to an application filed and argued before the court by a Lagos lawyer, Barrister Uchechukwu Obi SAN,on behalf of a Limited liability company The Petitioner, Uniterm Nigeria Limited who alleged that Oriental Energy Resources Nigeria Limited is owning it the sum of $1,453,356,76(One million four hundred and fifty-three Thousand, Three hundred and fifty-six Dollars Seventy-six Cent
      In 63 paragraphs of the affidavit in support of the application sworn to by the General Manager, Finance of Uniterm Nigeria Limited company Adekunle Okunnowo and argued before the court by Mr Obi SAN, it was alleged that Oriental Energy Resources Limited, was

 desirous of engaging a consortium comprising a local and foreign contractor to provide it with a Rig, specialized Drilling Unit, local and foreign personnel and catering services required in the good drilling project for Ebok Field located within OML 67.
     In the light of the above, Oriental Energy Resources Limited contacted Borr International Operations Incorporated, a company engaged in the business of providing drilling services and one existing under the laws of
Marshall Island and has its registered office at Trust Company Complex, Ajeltake Road, Ajeltake Island, Majuro, Marshall Islands and the Petitioner Uniterm Nigeria Limited as a consortium of foreign and local contractors for the project.
    The Petitioner was to provide local personnel and catering and incidental services on the rig location; while Borr was to provide the Rig, Drilling unit, and expatriate personnel for the project comprised in the contract.
The Petitioner, Borr and the Respondent as separate juristic entities fully aware of their roles, rights and obligations, entered into a business relationship in May, 2021.
  The Petitioner in association with Borr (simply described as the “Contractor”) and same was for the provision of Jack up Drilling unit “NATT” Drilling Rig, local and foreign personnel supply and Catering Services for Drilling Program Offshore Nigeria in the Respondent’s Ebok Field in OML 67 aforesaid.
      Although the said contract refer to the petitioner and Borr as “the contractor”;it was understood by the parties that the contract was to be executed by them in such a way that each of Borr and the petitioner was named as a contractor in the contract, was to provide its individual and distinct services to Oriental Energy Resources Company and to invoice and get paid separately for the services rendered by each of them.
    The drilling operations and other contractual services commenced in May 2021 and ended in October 2021. The Petitioner had submitted a total number of 61 invoices totalling US $2,232,638.67 and N104,120,896.20. All of these duly issued invoices were sent directly by the Petitioner to the Respondent in accordance with the Ordering and Invoicing process and most of them were received and honoured by the Respondent.
The Respondent, however, failed to pay 6 outstanding invoices all of which amount to the US $1, 453, 356.76 VAT inclusive.
Sometime in October 2021, the Respondent had alleged that Borr supplied Borr Natt Rig’ had malfunctioned thereby leading to a temporary stoppage of work within the period resulting to non-productive time (NPT) and consequential spread cost losses.
   In the light of this, the Respondent had sent a letter to Borr on 14th October 2021, informing Borr that they were disputing the service rates on Borr’s specific invoices, in view of the non-productive time (NPT) and spread cost losses.The letter was addressed to Borr which was simply copied to the petitioner.
However, the Respondent never disputed the invoices submitted by the Petitioner for the local personnel supply and catering services rendered by it or queried any aspect of the services rendered by the Petitioner in accordance with the Ordering and Invoicing Process.
The Respondent had struggled throughout the contract tenure to comply with the contractual payment terms of 30 days from final invoices submission dates as agreed, instead payments were mostly delayed and irregular and some remained outstanding to date. In each case the Respondent complained of its liquidity
problems urging the Petitioner to exercise more patience.
Due to the persistent refusal of the Respondent to make payments to the
Petitioner, on the 6 outstanding invoices, the Petitioner wrote a letter to the Respondent dated 14th March, 2022 and 5th April, 2022, demanding payment of the outstanding debt of US $1, 453, 356.76 (One Million Four Hundred and Fifty-Three Thousand, Three Hundred and Fifty – Six Dollars, Seventy-Six Cents) Vat Inclusive.
  By the terms of the contract, the Petitioner is also entitled to interests on the invoices as provided for in the contract. This is because the 30-day period stipulated in the contract has elapsed since the invoices were raised and submitted.
       The respondent’s claims and contentions against Borr which it now desperately uses as a ploy to refuse to liquidate the petitioner’s invoices are wrongful, baseless and insupportable under the existing contract executed by the parties
  All the services provided by the Petitioner were specifically requested for by the Respondent. Also, the Petitioner had as far back as 14th October, 2021 been sending mails and letters to the Respondent notifying it of the outstanding invoices. It is therefore unfair that the Respondent is trying to assert its purported claim against Borr International Operations Incorporated as a ground to withhold the Petitioner’s funds under the invoices.
The Petitioner is entitled to the sum of US $1, 453, 356.76 (One Million Four
Hundred and Fifty-Three Thousand, Three Hundred and Fifty – Six Dollars, Seventy-Six Cents) Vat Inclusive, interest at the current rate
   The Petitioner has performed all of its own obligations under the Agreement but the Respondent has woefully failed to discharge its own obligation under the contract by its refusal to honour invoices forwarded to it by the Petitioner.
Owing to the repeated failure of the Respondent to honour its commitments, as a result of which the business of the Petitioner was put in jeopardy and near total collapse, the Petitioner, in compliance with the provisions of sections 571 (d) and 572 (a) of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020 issued a statutory demand notice on the Respondent on 13th April, 2022 requesting the Respondent to pay the debt within three weeks from the date of receipt or face the consequence of winding up.
Although it received the letter on 14th April, 2022, the Respondent has failed to make the payments for the outstanding invoices till date thereby daring the machinery of the law.
   The Petitioner is a struggling Nigerian service company grappling with high operational costs and overdue commitments with its lenders, employees and other stakeholders and this delay in settlement of the invoices has occasioned undue hardship on its operations requesting the Court’s intervention to protect its rights as an unpaid creditor under the law.
At this point in time, it is clear that the Respondent is insolvent and unable to pay its debts to the Petitioner and there is need to protect the Petitioner and other body of creditors of the respondent from the wrongful and predatory action of the respondent
 By its shifty and evasive conducts, the Respondent who has funds in Nigerian Banks including those listed before the court as affected parties would most likely transfer its funds and excess stocks of crude oil and gas out of those accounts or otherwise encumber them outside Nigeria and divert their proceeds to offshore bank accounts outside the jurisdiction of the Court, with a view to frustrating the instant winding up petition and render its outcome nugatory.
   The Respondent has assets within the jurisdiction of this Court but might deal with them so that they will not be available or traceable when judgment is given against it or otherwise frustrate the Petitioner from reaping the reward of the judgment.
In view of the obvious funding challenges facing the Respondent who may be owing other creditors, the available funds and receivables in its bank accounts due to it,  receivables and stocks of crude oil and gas should be preserved towards the satisfaction of its indebtedness to Petitioner.
The banks listed hold cash deposits of the respondent and the respondent had received transferred funds in settlement of its past invoices from those banks at the instruction of the Respondent.
There is a real risk of the respondent’s assets being dissipated, hidden, or removed from the jurisdiction should the respondent become aware of these proceedings, thereby  frustrating the outcome of this suit or  any  judgment the   Court in this winding up Petition
   An order of Mareva Injunction of this Court is needed to prevent the respondent from removing funds and assets from the jurisdiction of this Court which funds and assets need to be preserved.
The  Petitioner/Applicant is willing ready and prepared to give an undertaking as to damages in the event that those orders are granted and it is discovered that the court ought not to have granted the interim order sought in the first place. In his ruling, Justice Aneke granted the restraining order.
        Meanwhile, the suit has been adjourned till the 26th of September,2022 for a hearing.

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NNPC Gas Marketing Limited Commissions New Office complex constructed by TILT Energy in Lagos

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NGML one of the core strategic subsidiaries of NNPC commissioned a new office complex at the Ikeja on Monday the 23rd of January.
This is in line with their commitment to providing an enabling environment for workforce which the MD Mr Justin Ezeala described as their greatest asset. It’s also inline with vision of the company of propagating the use of gas a cleaner source of energy across the country.

 

The impressive edifice was designed and built by
Leading integrated energy solutions company, TILT Energy Company Limited
The project, which was completed in the space of one year With no safety incidents in compliance with the extremely high standards of the oil and gas industry ,a testament to the pedigree of TILT Energy as a company.

NNPC and TILT Energy

Speaking at the commissioning Ayodeji Awodiji said that TILT Energy offers a vast array of services beyond just civil construction projects of this standard ,he highlighted the, O&M, pipeline installation and process automation capabilities of the company as an example .
He noted that TILT Energy also has a very strong fabrication base with its fabrication yard situated in Lagos, adding that he was proud to have been part of many flagship projects, including this.
Ayodeji explained that TILT has displayed its ability to work in a live site, where you have gas distribution without any safety incidents.
“We are glad for NNPC gas marketing limited for giving us this opportunity to showcase our core competence.

 

TILT Energy Management

“Like I said we are an EPCI company so civil construction is literally just a small part of what we do,” he said.”
He added that the new office was designed and constructed by TILT Energy on schedule within the stipulated 12 months timeframe.
According to him, “we actually started in December 2021, and we more or less concluded in December 2022, and commissioned in January 2023.”
Also speaking at the event was Mr Justin Ezeala, Managing Director, NNPC Gas Marketing Limited (NGML), who revealed that in spite of the challenges TILT Energy had at the beginning, he was particularly proud of their capacity to deliver on schedule.
The Executive Director Asset Management of NGML Mr Lawrence Chukwu also in his remarks commended the contractor for the outstanding quality of work , their professionalism and safety standards
He said he was happy that the project was situated close to one of their biggest partners Gaslink,
The well attended event had dignaties such as the MD of gaslink, the MD of NIPCO, Falcon Energy and Mtech in attendance (names)
Additionally, speaking on TILT energy’s ongoing projecrs coming projects, Ayodeji revealed that rehabilitation of the steam turbine at the Olorunsogo power plant owned by the Niger Delta Power Holding Company is expected to be completed by the end of the 1st quarter of this year and would bring on stream an additional 125 megawatts to the national grid when completed

According to him, the Olorunsogo Power Plant project is a very significant milestone for a local company to execute.

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ADEDUNTAN URGES BANKS TO IMPROVE LOAN MONITORING TO PREVENT NPLS’ BUILD-UP

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Dr. Adesola Adeduntan - FirstBank CEO

Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of FirstBank, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, has advised financial institutions in the country to be vigilant and improve the monitoring of their customers’ loans in order to prevent the build-up of non-performing loans (NPLs) in the industry as a result of the macroeconomic challenges.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with THISDAY, Adeduntan also urged businesses and their bankers to approach the new year in a collaborative relationship in order to overcome anticipated headwinds in the economy.

Adeduntan explained, “To prevent rising NPLs, businesses and their bankers will have to collaborate more and ensure timely flow of information to prevent surprises.

“Banks on their part will have to improve monitoring of their loan portfolio to quickly identify early warning signals for attention before a full-scale loan deterioration.

“Overall, businesses and their bankers must approach 2023 with a partnership mindset to ensure that a win-win outcome is achieved despite the anticipated macroeconomic challenges.”

Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Kristalina Georgieva, recently warned that 2023 would be tougher than 2022 for much of the global economy, as the United States, European Union and China see slowing growth.

Georgieva had said 2023 would be a “tough year”, with one-third of the world’s economies expected to be in recession.

The IMF had in October cut its global growth forecast to 2.7 per cent, down from 2.9 per cent forecast in July, amid headwinds, including the war in Ukraine and sharply rising interest rates.

Owing to the anticipated weakening of the global economy, Adeduntan said with slowing growth and elevated inflation rates, the sustainability of foreign debts, especially for developing nations, was likely to call for a re-evaluation by lenders given the increased likelihood of default.

He stated, “When this is juxtaposed with the higher interest rate environment at which these debts are likely to be refinanced, you will observe a scenario where further strain is exerted on the debt repayment capacity of these economies.

“However, this situation does not necessarily translate to an automatic economic doom for developing nations. The actual impact on each developing economy will depend on the economy’s level of fiscal discipline and revenue generating capacity.

“Developing nations, who are able, in the short term, to increase revenues either from taxes or sale/refinancing of idle/sub-optimal assets will be able to negotiate reasonable refinancing terms from lenders and prevent further economic turmoil.

“Nonetheless, all concerned nations need to take the issue of debt sustainability more seriously by limiting fiscal wastages, reducing inefficiencies, growing revenues, and aggressively working down unsustainable debt-to-GDP levels that may worsen the impacts of external shocks.”

Adeduntan also pointed out that expectedly, rising cost of debt and contracting demand would exacerbate the challenges that businesses would face this year, particularly for players operating in small-margins sectors of the economy.

Locally, the surging inflation rate was also expected to reduce disposable income of most consumers and demand for non-essential goods and services may dip, he said.

He, however, pointed out that despite the expected macroeconomic challenges in 2023, there were also emerging business and revenue opportunities that could be exploited by discerning players in the financial services industry.

Specifically, he identified the areas that would provide significant opportunity to players in the financial services industry to include payments, digital security, mergers and acquisition (M&A) opportunities, partnership across segments and consumer lending.

Adeduntan explained, “The Central Bank of Nigeria’s renewed drive on cashless policy has provided an opportunity for players in the financial services industry to enhance existing digital product offerings and create more attractive product offerings that will further reduce frictions in the payment process.

“This will help to reduce the financial exclusion gap, increase fees and commissions revenues, and improve overall viability and stability of the financial system.”

In the area of digital security, the chief executive said, “Increasing adoption of digital payments platforms will necessitate increased requirement for the security of payment channels. Thus, opportunities exist for players in the financial services industry to leverage robotics and artificial intelligence to improve security protocols on digital payment channels.”

He added, “With the anticipated pressures on earnings, opportunities exist for big and liquid players to gain additional scale and market share through outright acquisition of fringe players with the right strategic fit.

“There is also an opportunity for two or more small and/or medium size players to merge their operations/businesses to obtain scale advantage.

“The growing number of Fintechs and licensed Payment Service Banks also presents an opportunity for improved partnerships across various categories of players in the financial services industry for both mutual and industry-wide benefits.

“Tightening financial conditions of the average household will create opportunities for consumer loans in several variants such as buy-now-pay-later (BNPL), salary advance, consumer asset finance, etc. The industry is already witnessing a rising trend in the creation of digital consumer loan product offerings. This is likely to intensify in 2023.”

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Another set of winners to emerge in ongoing Polaris Save & Win Promo

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Polaris-Bank

…As Christmas Special Draw holds on December 29

 

Polaris Bank has announced that the third draw of its ongoing Save & Win promo is scheduled to hold on Thursday December 29, 2022.

 

The draw which will be conducted electronically, will hold at the Bank’s Victoria Island, Lagos headquarters, and will be broadcast live on the Bank’s social media channels where winners that emerged will be contacted and rewarded instantly.

 

The Bank has rewarded a total of 162 winners in the first and second draws that held on November 4 and December 8, respectively in a transparent selection witnessed by the relevant regulatory authorities.

 

The Bank in a statement on Wednesday, disclosed that another set of 100 Nigerians will be winners and will take-home cash prize of N100,000 each in the Christmas Special Draw.

 

According to Polaris Bank, customers can still participate in, or increase their chances of winning by depositing a minimum of N5,000 in their Savings account. Also, non-customers of the Bank can participate for a chance to win in the draw by opening a Polaris Savings account with N2,000 and growing same to N5,000 before the draw date.

 

Representatives of the relevant Lottery Commissions, Advertising Regulatory and Consumer Protection Agencies would be present at the draw to monitor and ensure transparency in the process.

 

The general public is invited to participate and follow the draw live on the Bank’s social media handles: @Polarisbankltd on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

 

Polaris Bank announced that this year’s Save & Win promo will reward over 4,000 Nigerians with cash gifts ranging from N100,000 to N1,000,000 in its monthly, quarterly and special draws.

 

Below are four (4) ways to participate in the promo:

 

 

  1. Download VULTe on iOS and the App store to open a Polaris Savings Account or dial USSD *833*0# on your phone or log into Polaris Bank savings portal at https://accounts.polarisbanklimited.com/opening/

 

  1. Grow your account by N5,000 or more for 30 days or 3 months to qualify for monthly & quarterly draws respectively; by N50,000 in 3 months to qualify for Xmas Special draw.
  1. If your account is dormant, you can reactivate your account without visiting the Bank by simply logging into the portal:https://accounts.polarisbanklimited.com/reactivate/, accept the terms and conditions, and update the required details the Bank may need.
  1. Follow the Bank’s handles @polarisbankltd across all social media platforms or visit the website at www.polarisbanklimited.com to stay updated.

 

Polaris Bank, adjudged Digital Bank of the Year 2021 and 2022, is a future-determining Bank committed to delivering industry-defining products for individuals and businesses.

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