Shell Dis­charges Caver­ton He­li­copters from $55m Loan Re­pay­ment Obli­ga­tions

THISDAY - - PAGE TWELVE - Ejio­for Alike

The Shell Petroleum Devel­op­ment Com­pany of Nige­ria Lim­ited (SPDC) has con­firmed the non-in­debt­ed­ness of Caver­ton He­li­copters Lim­ited on the $55 mil­lion loan ad­vanced to the com­pany by the oil gi­ant to fi­nance the ac­qui­si­tion of three new AW 139 he­li­copters.

SPDC has also dis­charged and re­leased Caver­ton He­li­copters from all re­pay­ment obli­ga­tions un­der the said loan, hav­ing fully re­cov­ered the to­tal loan from the firm, in line with the agree­ment by all the par­ties.

Shell had in May 2010 awarded Caver­ton He­li­copters a five-year con­tract for the pro­vi­sion of he­li­copter ser­vices with a twoyear re­new­able op­tion, after a highly com­pet­i­tive tech­ni­cal and commercial eval­u­a­tion pro­cesses.

The con­tract was the largest ever given to any na­tional com­pany in Nige­ria by Shell and given the oil gi­ant’s global rep­u­ta­tion for very high safety and qual­ity stan­dards, Caver­ton He­li­copters’ strong at­ten­tion to safety, qual­ity and con­tin­u­ous im­prove­ment, which ac­counted for its zero ac­ci­dents to date, also con­trib­uted to the award that had made the com­pany the largest fleet man­ager of the AW139 he­li­copter in sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa.

THISDAY gath­ered that in the vari­a­tion to the con­tract Num­ber NG01007424 awarded by SPDC to Caver­ton and DanCopter, Shell ad­vanced the sum of $55 mil­lion to Caver­ton He­li­copters as part of Shell’s strat­egy to strengthen lo­cal ca­pac­ity in the oil and gas in­dus­try, with the over­all aim of adding value to the Nige­rian econ­omy.

By the terms of the agree­ment, the loan would be re­paid from the pro­ceeds of the same con­tract awarded by SPDC to Caver­ton for the pro­vi­sions of avi­a­tion ser­vices.

In ful­fil­ment of the terms of the con­tract, SPDC said it had separately dis­bursed var­i­ous sums of money amount­ing to the said sum of $55 mil­lion to Caver­ton and DanCopter A/S.

Caver­ton had also se­cured Ad­vance Pay­ment Guar­an­tees (APGs) from Standard Char­tered Bank (SCB) Nige­ria Lim­ited as a se­cu­rity against early ter­mi­na­tion of the con­tract.

How­ever, in a let­ter dated July 25, 2017, and ad­dressed to the Man­ag­ing Direc­tor of Caver­ton He­li­copters Lim­ited, SPDC con­firmed that the to­tal sum of $55 mil­lion has been fully re­cov­ered from Caver­ton and DanCopter from the pro­ceeds of the con­tract Num­ber NG0107424, as con­tained in the op­er­at­ing plan in the orig­i­nal con­tract.

The let­ter, which was signed by SPDC’s Fi­nance Direc­tor, Yakov Kravchenko and ob­tained by THISDAY, also re­ferred to Shell’s ear­lier let­ter of De­cem­ber 17, 2014, dis­charg­ing and releasing DanCopter of all re­pay­ment obli­ga­tions for its por­tion un­der the loan.

In the let­ter ad­dressed to Caver­ton He­li­copters ti­tled: “Con­fir­ma­tion of Nonin­debt­ed­ness and Re­lease of Ad­vance Pay­ment Guar­an­tee Pro­cured by Caver­ton He­li­copters,” SPDC noted that the re­lease and dis­charge of Caver­ton do not af­fect the firm’s li­a­bil­ity to con­tinue to pro­vide he­li­copter ser­vices to SPDC un­der the same con­tract.

Part of the let­ter reads: “(a) we hereby dis­charge and ab­so­lutely re­lease Caver­ton He­li­copters from all re­pay­ment obli­ga­tions un­der the loan. This let­ter fur­ther serves to con­firm to SCB, or any other third par­ties that Caver­ton’s li­a­bil­ity for its own por­tion of the loan has been com­pletely dis­charged, and (b) Fur­ther to para­graph (a) above, we hereby re­turn the Sup­ple­men­tal Guar­an­tee made on Oc­to­ber 21, 2016, in favour of SPDC, in the amount of $4,293,804.33.”

Speak­ing at the con­tract sign­ing cer­e­mony in 2010, Shell’s then Vice Pres­i­dent, Health Safety and In­fra­struc­ture, and im­me­di­ate past Man­ag­ing Direc­tor of Nige­ria LNG Lim­ited, Mr. Babs Omo­towa had noted that “in highly tech­ni­cal ar­eas of our in­dus­try, a part­ner­ship be­tween a Nige­rian com­pany and for­eign tech­ni­cal part­ner en­ables build­ing of ca­pac­ity and trans­fer of skills and tech­nol­ogy”.

“Our vi­sion is that through this re­la­tion­ship, SPDC and Shell Nige­ria Ex­plo­ration Pro­duc­tion Com­pany (SNEPCO) would be a cat­a­lyst for a Nige­rian com­pany to grow and be able to com­pete in­ter­na­tion­ally out­side Nige­ria,” Omo­towa, who is now Vice Pres­i­dent in charge of Safety and En­vi­ron­ment (S&E) at the Shell Up­stream In­ter­na­tional at The Hague, Nether­lands, had said.

The ac­qui­si­tion of 6 AW 139 he­li­copters from the Orig­i­nal Equip­ment Man­u­fac­turer – Agus­taWest­land en­abled the ap­point­ment of Caver­ton He­li­copters Lim­ited as an Agus­taWest­land Au­tho­rised Service Cen­tre for the AW139 in­ter­me­di­ate twin he­li­copter in Nige­ria and West Africa in June 2012.

Caver­ton be­came the first com­pany to be so ap­pointed by a ma­jor air­craft man­u­fac­turer in the West African sub-re­gion.

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