Out of the doldrums, Atlantic, investors reposition for 2016

DrillingAtlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Nigeria Limited is on the verge of resuming operations on the services to eight oil blocks in line with the strategic agreement with the Nigerian Production Development Company (NPDC).

The company has had it rough this year over the allegations that its phenomenal success in securing the juicy strategic alliance with NPDC was in breach of industry rules.

Under the agreement, Atlantic took charge of eight oil blocks. It was to provide funds, technical services, drill and sell crude oil. To fund its mandate, it borrowed funds from financial institutions.

However, the company was accused of inability to honour its obligations in the agreement to the regulatory authorities.

For these, industry rivals, seeking to oust it from its highly-coveted niche, allegedly decieved the public turning what were standard industry practices to criminal infractions.

A large dose of calumny went into the fray as the company was wrongly vilified for its business relations with the past administration of President Goodluck Jonathan. As such, industry rivals thought it was only a matter of time before the country’s foremost indigenous drilling company would fizzle away from the petroleum sector.

Impeccable sources however hinted that President Muhamadu Buhari had decided to give the Atlantic a chance by demanding that it should present a plan showing how it would settle its debts and resolve all contending issues between it and the country’s oil managing parastatals and its creditors.

The plan, drawn by the company and submitted a month ago was finally approved by the Presidency last week and referred to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, for implementation.

Meanwhile, modalities for implementation of the approved plan and investors involvement in the repayment plan have been the agenda for talks between the company and petroleum sector regulators.

Confirming this development, The Managing Director of the company, Olajide Omokhore, said the presidential intervention was a great relief for him and the firm.

He gave kudos to the Federal Government for saving the company from the long knives of industry rivals, a step, which has given encouragement to indigenous players in the oil industry.

President Muhammadu Buhari, a former Minister of Petroleum, whose tenure marked the commencement of the policy of encouraging indigenous companies to play strong roles in the hitherto foreign-dominated sector, saw through the intense rivalry that made competitors for production licenses go to the sewers to fight each other.

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