UK SFO reclaims £100,000 from Unaoil Executive

Following a successful investigation and conviction of four individuals for corruption at Unaoil, the UK's Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has recovered criminal gains of almost £100,000 from a former senior executive.

The full amount must now be paid into the public purse within 28 days.

Earlier this year, the SFO was praised by HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI) for its work to recover the proceeds of crime, with cases "handled proactively and efficiently by dedicated and skilled staff."

This latest recovery means the SFO's confiscation of illicit gains since 2017 stands at well over £1.2 billion. Other notable successes include the £1.2 million secured from the luxury West London property of corrupt Brazilian agent Julio Faerman and the £2 million recouped from the sale of two properties and a cache of jewellery linked to suspected Birmingham fraudster Nisar Afzal.

Commenting on today's court order, Emma Luxton, Head of Proceeds of Crime and International Assistance at the SFO, said: "The SFO relentlessly pursues those who line their own pockets with illicit gains and we have a proud record of recovering funds for victims and for the UK taxpayer."

Stephen Whiteley, a former territory manager for Unaoil, was found guilty in July 2020 of paying over $500,000 in bribes to win a $55 million contract for Unaoil to supply oil infrastructure in Iraq. The SFO secured the convictions against Whiteley and three other senior oil executives in an investigation which uncovered schemes to pay a total of $17 million in bribes to win $1.7 billion in contracts for Unaoil in Iraq.

In October 2021, the SFO announced that Petrofac Limited had been ordered to pay £77 million after it admitted failing to prevent senior executives at Petrofac from systematically paying £32 million in bribes to win over £2.6 billion in oil and gas contracts in the Middle East. It was the third set of convictions in the case after David Lufkin, former Head of Sales at Petrofac, pleaded guilty to 11 counts of bribery in 2019 and 3 counts of bribery in 2021. The SFO's Petrofac investigation originated from its investigation into Unaoil.

The SFO's Proceeds of Crime Division continues to investigate the criminal gains of the convicted Unaoil executives.

(Source: UK SFO)

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Petrofac expects “Significant Upside Potential” on return to Iraq

By John Lee.

Oil services company Petrofac has said it is "anticipating significant upside potential upon return to markets in Saudi Arabia, Iraq and the UAE".

In 2019, customers in Iraq and Saudi Arabia suspended Petrofac from bidding on new contracts, while allowing it to execute pre-existing contracts, followed by a UAE customer in 2020. This resulted from investigations into corruption involving the company.

Earlier this month, Petrofac was ordered to pay GBP 77 million [$105 million] after the UK's Serious Fraud Office (SFO) secured further convictions in its investigation into bribery and corruption.

The company today raised £199.6 million in the bond markets, part of which will be used to pay the fine.

Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the UAE accounted for 27 percent of total revenue in the period 2015-2019, prior to the first suspension, and revenue from these countries decreased to 12 percent in 2020.

(Source: Petrofac)

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Petrofac Fined $105m; Shares Rally Futher

By John Lee.

Shares in Petrofac were trading up more than 7 percent on Monday, as the company was ordered to pay GBP 77 million [$105 million] after the UK's Serious Fraud Office (SFO) secured further convictions in its investigation into bribery and corruption at the Jersey-registered energy services company.

On Friday, Petrofac Limited pleaded guilty to seven separate counts of failing to prevent bribery between 2011 and 2017.

Petrofac Limited admitted that it failed to prevent former senior executives of the Petrofac Group from paying GBP 32 million (USD 44 million) in bribes, to help the Petrofac Group win over GBP 2.6 billion (USD 3.5 billion) of contracts in the oil and gas industry in Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The Court heard how, over a period of six years, senior executives within the Petrofac Group engaged in elaborate schemes to corrupt the awarding of contracts, using agents to systematically bribe officials to win lucrative contracts by unfair and dishonest means.

A key feature of the case was the complex and deliberately opaque methods used by these senior executives to pay agents across borders, disguising payments through sub-contractors, creating fake contracts for fictitious services and, in some cases, passing bribes through more than one agent and one country, to disguise their actions.

Lisa Osofsky, Director, Serious Fraud Office, said:

"By pleading guilty, Petrofac Limited has accepted that senior executives within the Petrofac Group acted deliberately and without conscience in the pursuit of greed. The company's failure to prevent this conduct distorted competitive market conditions and tainted the oil and gas industry.

"Today's result should serve as a warning; the SFO will use all the powers at its disposal to root out and prosecute companies and individuals, whose criminal activity detrimentally affects the reputation and integrity of the United Kingdom.

"The SFO welcomes Petrofac Limited taking responsibility for its conduct."

This is the third set of convictions secured by the SFO in its four-year investigation into cross-border corruption at the Petrofac Group. David Lufkin, former Head of Sales at Petrofac pleaded guilty to 11 counts of bribery in 2019 and 3 counts of bribery in 2021.

Lufkin was today sentenced to a two-year custodial sentence, which was suspended for 18 months. In addition to pleading guilty, David Lufkin co-operated with SFO investigators and assisted with the investigation.

The SFO continues to investigate this case.

Petrofac Chairman René Médori said:

"This draws a line under a regrettable period of our history. We have taken responsibility, reformed and learned from these past mistakes, as acknowledged by the SFO and the Court. Most importantly, the extensive work that we have done since the SFO investigation began means that the Petrofac of today has a comprehensive compliance and governance regime that meets or exceeds international best practice.

"The past behaviour uncovered by the SFO would not be possible today, and we look to the future a better and more focused company, well positioned to capitalise on the opportunities we see before us."

(Sources: SFO, Petrofac)

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Petrofac Shares Jump following Iraq Bribery Plea Agreement

By John Lee.

Petrofac shares closed the day up more than 26 percent on Friday, after the company announced that it has reached a plea agreement with the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) in relation to bribery in Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The Company indicated guilty pleas to seven counts of failing to prevent former Petrofac group employees from offering or making payments to agents in relation to projects awarded between 2012 and 2015 in Iraq, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, contrary to Section 7 of the UK Bribery Act 2010. These offers or payments were made between 2011 and 2017.

It added that all employees involved in the charges have left the business.

A sentencing hearing is scheduled to take place at Southwark Crown Court commencing on Monday 27 September 2021. The Company will make a further announcement following sentencing or any adjournment.

In a statement to the markets, Group Chief Executive Sami Iskander said:

"With my new management team we are rebuilding the company into a new Petrofac that's relevant for the future, across both traditional and new energies, built on a foundation of the highest ethical standards."

(Sources: Petrofac, SFO)

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Petrofac Iraq Revenues Down

By John Lee.

Petrofac has announced that for the year ended 31st December 2020, the company had revenues of $238 million in Iraq -- $105 million in engineering and construction, and $133 in engineering and production services.

This represented about 6 percent of the company's total turnover, and was down from a total of $325 million in 2019 ($145 million in engineering and construction, and $180 in engineering and production services).

In its Annual Report for the year,  the company said that Iraq accounts for 7 percent of its total backlog of $1.7 billion, implying a backlog in Iraq of approximately $119 million.

(Source: Petrofac)

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Petrofac Wins Contract Extension in Iraq

By John Lee.

Petrofac has announced that its Engineering & Production Services division ('EPS') has secured a one-year contract extension worth around US$80 million with a key client in Iraq.

While not mentioning the specific project, the company said:

"The award is recognition of Petrofac's successful eight-year track record of safe delivery as the incumbent operations and maintenance service provider.

"The facility which Petrofac will continue to manage, is one of the largest in the Gulf and handles around 55% of Iraq's crude oil exports."

Basra Oil Company (BOC) awarded Petrofac the operations and maintenance (O&M) contract for its Iraq Crude Oil Export Expansion Project (ICOEEP) at Fao [Faw] Terminal in 2012.

Steve Webber, SVP Operations EPS East, commented:

"This contract extension strengthens our long-term client partnership. Since the start of our involvement in 2012, we have supported this facility to export over 4 billion barrels of oil. Our teams in Iraq have an impeccable safety record and the use of innovative solutions have been at the heart of our delivery model. We look forward to supporting our client to maintain the best-in-class operation of this important national asset."

Petrofac has been providing services in Iraq since 2010, involved in a range of greenfield and brownfield projects in the country worth more than US$1 billion.

(Source: Petrofac)

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Petrofac secures Contract Extension with Basra Oil Company

Petrofac's Engineering & Production Services division (EPS) has secured a further six-month contract extension with Basra Oil Company (BOC) for its long-standing Iraq Crude Oil Export Expansion Project (ICOEEP).

According to a statement from Petrofac, the confirmation of the contract extension is recognition of Petrofac's successful seven-and-a-half-year track record of safe and efficient delivery and ability to sustain and improve export levels as incumbent operations and maintenance service provider.

The facility, which is one of the largest export terminals in the Gulf and handles around 50% of Iraq's crude oil exports, is located 60 km offshore the Al Fao Peninsula in Southern Iraq. It comprises a central metering and manifold platform and four Single Point Moorings (SPMs) which facilitate oil export onto awaiting crude carrier tankers. In addition, Petrofac is responsible for almost 300 km of subsea pipelines, 1800 metres of subsea and floating hose infrastructure and a marine spread comprising 14 vessels.

Mani Rajapathy, Managing Director, EPS East, said:

"We are delighted to be awarded this further contract extension in Iraq by our longstanding client BOC. During this current challenging period for operations we have continued to work well together, improving the daily export beyond two million barrels. We thank BOC for their consistent support and look forward to maintaining the best-in-class operation of this important national asset."

Mr Ihsan Ismaael, Director General of BOC commented:

"Petrofac continues to be a true partner to BOC, ensuring uninterrupted and record exports. We appreciate their commitment, particularly during this recent period, and congratulate them for hitting new export highs."

Petrofac has been present in Iraq since 2010. Today, Petrofac employs around 400 people in country and is currently working on a number of projects for a variety of NOC and IOC clients.

(Source: Petrofac)

Petrofrac Order Intake hit by Iraq Fraud Investigation

By John Lee.

Petrofac has said that a fall in first-half order intake was partly due to an investigation into the oilfield services company’s dealings in Saudi Arabia and Iraq.

In its results for the six months ended 30th June 2019, Petrofac’s Group Chief Executive Ayman Asfari commented:

Petrofac has delivered good results that reflect solid operational performance across the business.

“New order intake year to date has been impacted by recent challenges in Saudi Arabia and Iraq. 

“Looking forward, the Group has a busy tendering pipeline with around US$13 billion of bid opportunities due for award in the second half of the year.”

It added that “no charges have been brought against Petrofac, or any officers or current employees.

Earlier this year, David Lufkin, previously Global Head of Sales for Petrofac International Limited, pleaded guilty to eleven counts of bribery.

(Source: Petrofac)

Petrofrac Order Intake hit by Iraq Fraud Investigation

By John Lee.

Petrofac has said that a fall in first-half order intake was partly due to an investigation into the oilfield services company’s dealings in Saudi Arabia and Iraq.

In its results for the six months ended 30th June 2019, Petrofac’s Group Chief Executive Ayman Asfari commented:

Petrofac has delivered good results that reflect solid operational performance across the business.

“New order intake year to date has been impacted by recent challenges in Saudi Arabia and Iraq. 

“Looking forward, the Group has a busy tendering pipeline with around US$13 billion of bid opportunities due for award in the second half of the year.”

It added that “no charges have been brought against Petrofac, or any officers or current employees.

Earlier this year, David Lufkin, previously Global Head of Sales for Petrofac International Limited, pleaded guilty to eleven counts of bribery.

(Source: Petrofac)

Petrofac Contract to deliver Training Solutions Renewed

By John Lee.

Petrofac has announced that it has secured new awards and contract extensions, with a combined value of over US$30 million, to provide training solutions for key National Oil Company and International Oil Company clients in Oman, the UAE and Iraq.

In Iraq, where Petrofac has delivered more than 50,000 in-country delegate training days since 2010, a contract has been renewed to deliver training solutions.

(Source: Petrofac)