AMERICAN SAMOA GOVERNOR FIRM ON MOBIL OIL

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TANK FARM CHOICE

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (August 18, 1997 - Samoa News)---American Samoa's Chief Procurement Officer, Governor Tauese Sunia, has upheld his earlier decision to award the management contract of the government tank farm at Gataivai to Mobil Oil.

In a six-page, August 8 letter denying an appeal/protest filed by BHP Petroleum/Hawaii, Tauese informed the company that his decision is final, and "with the rendering of this final decision, it appears BHP has properly exhausted its administrative remedies."

Thus, if BHP wants to pursue its complaint, it will have to file suit in court.

Attorney Roy Hall, representing BHP Petroleum, told the Samoa News that he is discussing the possibility of taking legal actions with his client but no firm decision has been made.

Hall said that the Governor's reply is confusing because under administrative procedures, an administrative appeal should be filed with the Governor if the notice of dispute is denied.

But in this case, the Governor has apparently eliminated the appeal process since he is both Chief Procurement Officer and Governor.

Tauese maintained in his letter that his initial decision in favor of Mobil Oil "as the most advantageous to (the American Samoa government) considering price and the evaluation criteria set forth in the Request for Proposals."

He also stated, "I am of the further opinion that the award was made in accordance with the procurement laws and rules of the territory and in compliance with the Amended Court Plan (governing petroleum supply in American Samoa)."

The Governor also told the Samoa News that he denied a similar notice of dispute filed by Global Oil.

The California-based company had filed a notice of appeal and had requested that the U.S. Department of Justice intervene because the government-owned tank farm comes under federal jurisdiction.

Stories from the SAMOA NEWS, American Samoa's daily newspaper, may not be republished without permission. To contact the publisher, send e-mail to samoanews@samoatelco.com

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