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Shell Defends Sale of Nigeria Oil Blocs as Legal

Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd (SPDC) has defended its decision to divest itself of some of its equity in oil concessions in Nigeria’s contentious Niger Delta region.

SPDC maintains that its divestiture was compliant with both its contractual rights and the regulatory frameworks for Nigeria’s oil industry.

SPDC Vice President for Safety, Environment, Sustainable Development and Communications, Shell Sub Saharan Africa, Tony Attah, stated, "Since we commenced the process last year, we have been open and transparent and have given equal opportunities to all interested buyers. We went through very rigorous regulated processes, often spanning several months, before possibly reaching any agreements which are also subject to requisite government approvals. SPDC has repeatedly made it clear that the planned divestments do not mean it is leaving Nigeria, but a strategic refocusing of its portfolio, including investment and necessary asset sales aimed at strengthening "our long-term position in the country," This Day newspaper reported.

The former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Funsho Kupolokun countered, "In 2006, we commissioned Hart Group of UK to conduct audit and we discovered that indigenous companies do not pay tax. We cannot support a company that does not pay tax, just because it is a Nigerian company. So, if we must support indigenous companies, there must be an index to measure their performance, side-by-side the multinationals. It is not just supporting a few billionaires to take over the oil industry and when you ask them to pay tax, they turn around to bribe everybody. If they don't pay tax, how can the government get the revenue to provide essential services to the people? If I survive in Lagos, how will my father in the village survive without basic amenities? We should not support a company that does not pay tax."

By. Joao Peixe, Deputy Editor OilPrice.com



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