February 2012/ By Ejiofor Alike
World’s largest oil company, Exxon Mobil Corporation and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) will sign a $1.5billion international loan deal in the next few weeks, seeking to develop offshore joint venture project in Nigeria.
Quoting unnamed international bankers, Bloomberg reported yesterday that Standard Chartered Plc and South African lenders Standard Bank Group Ltd and Nedbank Group Ltd. are among the banks involved in the deal.
However, it was not clear if the loan was the same $1.5 billion, five-year amortising restructuring syndicated loan that NNPC was making plans to secure from international lenders in the last quarter of 2011.
But Thomson Reuters data had indicated that the initial deal would mark NNPC’s first internationally-syndicated loan.
BNP Paribas, Standard Bank and Standard Chartered were said to have submitted their bids to arrange the loan as at the last quarter of 2011, but mandates were not immediately awarded and NNPC was also yet to make a decision.
When contacted, the Group spokesman of NNPC, Dr. Levi Ajuonuma said he did not know anything about the deal and spokesman of ExxonMobil in Nigeria, Mr. Nigel Cookey-Gam could not be reached.
In July 2010, NNPC denied claims by the then Minister of State for Finance, that the corporation was insolvent.
NNPC however acknowledged that unpaid huge subsidies on petrol and kerosene were putting it under heavy financial strain.
Despite the claims and counter claims, the National Assembly ordered the corporation to repay N450billion owed the Federation Account.
To avoid accumulation of unpaid subsidies, it also started to deduct claims for subsidies at source.