Here is the article:
February 9th, 2006
JDA approves Addax as operator of oil bloc
A Swiss oil firm, Addax Petroleum, has been appointed the operator of bloc 4 in the Gulf of Guinea by the Joint Development Authority (JDA), the body administering the hydrocarbon resources in the Joint Development Zone (JDZ).
by Olusola Bello
Addax replaces US independent oil firm, Pioneer Natural Resources, which has pulled out from the consortium with ERHC Energy, the US-based company in which Nigerian indigenous oil firm Chrome Energy has a majority stake.
President and chief executive officer of ERHC Energy Walter Brandhuber told reporters yesterday that Addax would be bringing to bear on the consortium its wealth of experience in oil exploration and production, particularly in Nigeria's offshore area.
"The JDA has approved Addax as the operator for bloc 4. The approval was given last week," Brandhuber said, adding that ERHC has conveyed to the JDA its readiness to sign the Joint Operating agreement (JOA) and Production Sharing Contract (PSC) for the bloc.
A spokesman for the JDA also confirmed the approval granted Addax. "I can confirm that both parties (Nigeria and Sao Tome) represented in the Joint Ministerial Council have now approved the Addax operatorship of bloc 4," said the spokesman.
By the JDA approval, Addax has now replaced all the major American oil firms in the consortia with ERHC Energy in exercising all the rights granted it by the JDA in the five oil blocks awarded last May. The consortia included the ERHC/Devon/Pioneer in Block
Meanwhile, the Joint Ministerial Council (JMC) of the JDA yesterday, agreed to convene a meeting on February 28, in Abuja to consider and approve the Production Sharing Contract (PSC) guiding operations in the five oil blocks awarded last year.
The JMC, which consists of representatives from Nigeria and Republic of Sao Tome and Principe which began meeting on Tuesday, also rejected the judicial report purportedly issued by the Office of the Attorney General of Sao Tome and Principe, condemning the process of award of the blocks.
The Sao Tome attorney general late last year released a report alleging "serious flaws" in the way the blocks were awarded. He said several of the companies chosen to explore the JDZ blocks lacked the technical know-how and the financial muscle to carry out the work, and that the procedures used to select the companies which received concessions contained serious flaws and did not satisfy the minimum standards required for the award of such licences.
The tiny archipelago island also picked holes in the preferential rights granted ERCH Energy in many of the blocks. ERCH Energy is a quoted company on the New York Stock Exchange in which a Nigerian indigenous oil company, Chrome, has major equity interest. The country said it would lose about $58 million in expected income if the award to ERHC was allowed to stay.
Meanwhile, traffic here at ERHC On The Move continues to grow apace with interest in the stock. Here's today's stats from Site Meter as of 10:56pm EST:
Average Per Day 1,386
Average Visit Length 3:19
Last Hour 50
This Week 9,704
Average Per Day 2,018
Average Per Visit 1.5
Last Hour 74
This Week 14,126