Kvaerner dragged into major bribery scandal involving Unaoil
Norwegian engineering and construction services company Kvaerner is reportedly involved in a major international oil industry corruption scandal including Monaco-based company Unaoil.
The Huffington Post and its Australian partner, Fairfax Media, on Wednesday revealed results of a six-month investigation of Monaco-based family-owned company Unaoil implicating big multinational oil companies and politicians in a global web of bribery in the Middle East and Africa from 2002 until 2012.
Citing hundreds of thousands of emails obtained from the Unaoil leaders, the Huffington Post named a number of oil companies as implicated in the bribery scandal including Halliburton, Kvaerner, National Oilwell Varco, Keppel, and Turkish joint venture GATE.
According to Monaco’s government website, several leaders of Unaoil have been taken in for questioning on March 29-30 with their homes and the company’s headquarters searched.
The searches were done at the request of the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and the hearings were held in the presence of British officials as part of a major international corruption scandal involving a number of companies operating in the oil sector.
Among many involved, Norwegian company Kvaerner, then Aker Solutions, is on the list. After Kvaerner spun off from Aker Solutions into a separate publicly traded company in 2011, the company acquired Aker Solutions’ contract in Kazakhstan related to the development of the Kashagan field in the Caspian Sea.
In a statement issued on Friday, Kvaerner said it was unaware that Unaoil has not operated within applicable laws and regulations.
The company goes on to deny media allegations claiming that Kvaerner paid Unaoil through overseas bank. Kvaerner said that payments to Unaoil for the Kashagan project were made to Unaoil’s accounts in Monaco as well as in Norway.
In 2007, Unaoil was hired by the then Aker Kvaerner to assist with project implementation in the Caspian region, including the Kashagan project. The company noted that Unaoil assisted with a range of services, including market information, assistance in the development, and recruiting local professionals. However, Kvaerner claimed, the preparations for the tender were done by Aker Kvaerner itself.
Kvaerner as it is today was formed back in 2011 and it includes part of the former Aker Kvaerner which conducted the Kashagan project.
After 2011, Kvaerner has not had any projects in the Caspian Sea or used any services from Unaoil, the engineering services company concluded.
Offshore Energy Today reached out to Kvaerner inquiring about the company’s involvement in the bribery scandal. Kvaerner was not immediately available for comment.
Offshore Energy Today Staff