Legal Dispute Forces Shutdown of Bumi Armada FPSO
Offshore services firm Bumi Armada Berhad has had to shut down the FPSO Armada Perdana at Nigeria's Oyo field due to a legal action on shore.
In a notice provided to Bumi Armada, lease operator Erin Petroleum Nigeria Ltd (EPNL) asserted that an unspecified "force majeure event" had occured. EPNL, a subsidiary of Houston-based Erin Energy, asked for an orderly shutdown of the Perdana's operations.
In addition, EPNL notified Bumi Armada that all the crude oil to be produced and stored on board the Perdana has been seized/attached by a court in Lagos. The action relates to a legal matter involving a third party and does not involve Bumi Armada directly, the firm said.
Bumi Armada said that it has sought clarification from EPNL but has not yet received any additional information. It may pursue legal action against EPNL.
Bumi Armada suspended Erin's contract for the Armada Perdana last June, citing alleged delays in payment, but it said in August that it was allowing production to continue. Bumi was not the only vendor to complain of unpaid bills: According to Erin's latest annual report, Transocean filed an arbitration claim against Erin over unpaid charges for drilling services at Oyo and won a $20 million award, which Erin is currently attempting to negotiate. Erin has reached separate settlement agreements for unpaid charges with BGP, Multiplan and Aker Solutions.
The Oyo field is Erin Energy's sole producing asset, and as of the end of last year it produced about 4,500 bpd. In its annual report for FY2017, Erin said that the production volume from Oyo and the currently prevailing oil prices are too low to generate enough cash to cover its obligations. Erin has been drawing upon its credit facilities in order to make up the difference, and it warned that due to lack of liquidity, it may not be able to make required principal and interest payments in the future.