Fresh indications have emerged that the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has finally got buyers for the oil rig ‘Oritsetimeyin’, one of the two oil rigs seized from Seawolf Oil Services Limited and abandoned at the outer marina in Lagos for about four years.
The oil rig was seized by AMCON in 2015 for alleged debts of about N25 billion owed to First Bank of Nigeria Plc.
This is even as the second rig, ‘Onome’ is said to be under discussion with several companies which have indicated interest in buying it.
Speaking with Shipping Position Daily, President of Nigerian Association of Master Mariners, Capt Tajudeen Alao said although the new buyers of the rig are not yet known, he however said Nigerians failed to understand that it is better to lease an oil rig than to purchase one outrightly.
He noted that there are still yet many abandoned oil rigs on Nigerian waters as a result of mismanagement of funds and lack of experience in the business.
According to him, the fact that rig Oritsetimeyin has got a buyer does not imply that activities are picking up in the oil and gas sector.
Our correspondent recalls that more than 450 workers of Seawolf Oil Services Limited were demanding the payment of N3 billion allegedly owed them since August, 2013.
Capt Alao said it is better that AMCON has got a buyer for the rigs because the company on its own cannot run any craft or manage any platform, and if they can see anybody that can buy the rig, the better for them. He said the company would use any opportunity to shed the load on them.
He told our correspondent that, "there are many abandoned oil rigs littering Nigerian waters, I am in Warri right now, there are many oil rigs here, so also we have them in other places hanging"
"This is because they were not getting jobs, these rigs, some of them are bad debts, there is nowhere in the world that people buy oil rigs, they only lease them, it is only in Nigeria you see people buying oil rigs. The owner of Conoil, Mike Adenuga bought one, nobody buys rig, they lease it, so that when there is no job, you can let it go, but here in Nigeria, we have money to waste so we buy outrightly"
"People that need oil rigs go to the shipyard to sign a contract, but Nigerians have cash and they just put it down on something they have no clue about"
"Right now we don't know the buyer of this rig, maybe the person is taking it away to Ghana"
Capt Alao corrected that the rigs were not abandoned or staying free at the outer mariner, he said money is being paid daily for their maintenance.
Continuing, he said "We need to audit ourselves because these are the areas where we have losses, some people are making money from the continual stay of the rigs there, money that we cannot quantify, maybe it is even more than the price of the craft, it is very sad".