Agencies Shun House Probe Of Undeclared Crude Oil Exports

Agencies Shun House Probe Of Undeclared Crude Oil ExportsTwelve government agencies on Monday failed to appear before the House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee probing the alleged undeclared crude oil and liquefied natural gas exports to global destinations.

Those that failed to appear before the lawmakers who summoned 15 agencies include: The Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, Nigeria Customs Service and Nigerian Ports Authority.

The Chairman of the House Committee, Honourable Adbulrazak Namdas, who seemed unhappy with the development, tasked government agencies to play their part in the fight against corruption.

“Reports have it that over 57 million barrels of Nigerian crude oil were illegally exported and sold in the USA between January 2011 and December 2014.

“The estimated revenue loss by the Government of Nigeria is around $12 million at an exchange rate of 196 Naira to a dollar; this translates to over two trillion Naira,” Honourable Namdas said.

The Minority Whip of the House, Honourable Yakubu Barde, who declared the event open, said the allegations and others have left a shadow on Nigeria’s development.

“The specter of oil theft and associated crimes in the industry in Nigeria is unending and has remained an albatross on the national development needs till date.

“The problem of oil subsidy and the ‘ripping off’ of Nigeria and Nigerians may be assuming the crimes of yesteryears.

The Committee was forced to adjourn its sitting till Tuesday, April 11.

Ijaw Leader Says PANDEF Not Fit to Dialogue With Buhari

Muhammadu Buhari, New Year, Unity, NigeriaAn Ijaw leader, Chief Wilfred Ogbotobo, says members of the Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) lack the authority to discuss with President Muhammadu Buhari on the development of the Niger Delta.

Ogbotobo, who spoke in Yenagoa, said that the group is made of people who had opportunities to develop the region, but instead built empires for themselves and their children with public funds.

He alleged that PANDEF members are politicians masquerading as Niger Delta leaders.

“There is no need for further dialogue on the same issues relating to the development and well-being of the same Niger Delta. We have had enough of the same characters, dialogues, blueprints and roadmaps on this same Niger Delta.

“These individuals and groups should, in their own interest, spare President Buhari the distractions of their unproductive and time-wasting dialogues, as he cannot afford to fail in the challenges confronting critical sectors of the nation.

“Hence, we welcome and praise President Buhari’s timely recognition of this snare, and his boldness in providing a significant budgetary allocation to fight crime and stop a breakdown of law and order in the region.

He continued by saying “this is the hallmark of a disciplined, responsible leadership”.

According to him, the President is conversant with the developmental challenges of the Niger Delta and should dialogue with “local rocket scientists” to implement his plans for the region.

He said the President has demonstrated his readiness to develop the Niger Delta, alleging that leaders of PANDEF are politicians who had earlier threatened fire and brimstone against Buhari during the campaign.

“Their political profiles will reveal how many opportunities they have had in the course of their political development, to better the region, but which they squandered on selfishness and frivolity.

“We, therefore, urge the public to be more discerning and not to be deceived by these barefaced lies and hypocritical shenanigans of individuals and groups whose activities are akin to a set of spent clowns on a time worn circus.

“These antecedents and antics are no longer fashionable and are out of tune with the present enlightenment and realities in the Niger Delta,” Ogbotobo said.

“President Buhari needs no further schooling or dialogue on the economic value and social importance of the Brass Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project and a modern seaport in Bayelsa State; as well as his knowledge of the strategic value of the Maritime University to the people.

“We urge the Federal Government to be focused and committed to the delivery of the dividends of democracy to the Niger Delta”.

He advised the President to go deeper, beyond to collaborate with the people, identify and groom a fresh breed of committed, young leaders who should be empowered to provide robust leadership for the salvation and survival of Niger Delta.

Trade Relations: NNPC To Expand Nigeria’s Market in Asia

NNPC logo2The Federal Government is planning to increase the nation’s petroleum market in Asia after losing a substantial part of the United States market.

One of such target markets is Pakistan, whose Minister of Petroleum, Shahid Abbasi, had been in Nigeria to facilitate the new trade relations.

While meeting with Mr Abbasi in Abuja, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Mr. Andrew Yakubu revealed that India was Nigeria’s biggest market for petroleum resources.

“You are a very good market for Nigerian hydrocarbon resources, we are also happy to inform you too that your immediate neighbours, the Indian community today is one of the largest importers of our petroleum product, having lost our substantial markets to US”, Mr Yakubu said.

He also disclosed, “We look forward to having more market within the sub region, which today I’ve seen clearly that you are a potential market for our hydrocarbon resources.”

Mr Shahid Abbasi, revealed the target of the Pakistani Government for the next three years towards meeting its Liquefied Natural Gas demands and stated that they “look upon Nigeria as a potential source for that LNG”. He added that he hoped that the meeting would translate into future negotiations for the procurement of LNG from Nigeria.

NLNG says Ribadu’s report is ‘grossly erroneous’

Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Company has denied key findings in a government-commissioned probe into the country’s oil and gas sector, which accused the firm of paying below market prices for gas supplied to its 22mn tonnes per annum plant and that it owed $29 billion to the Federal government for this gas.

The report by the special task force on petroleum revenue led by a former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nuhu Ribadu was received by President Goodluck Jonathan last Friday.

But NLNG, whose shareholders are the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Shell, Total and Italy’s Eni, rejected the report’s findings on its operations.

“This report is inaccurate and the allegation grossly erroneous,” NLNG said.

“It is an error to compare the price of raw material (natural gas feedstock) to that of finished product (regasified LNG). It is even worse to declare the difference as losses or cut down rates. This sort of comparative economic analysis is simply bizarre. It fails to recognise the intensive production-liquefaction costs, the shipping costs, the regasification costs, taxes and levies and other ancillary charges,” the company added.

NLNG said it had paid over 300pc of the going rate of gas in Nigeria during the period under review.

The price that NLNG bought gas from producers is a “netback price”, which since 2008 has been between 26pc and 36pc of the weighted prices it obtains from the sales of its products in various regions in the world. This price level compares well across LNG plants globally and reflects the capital-intensive nature of the liquefaction process and shipping costs, NLNG said.

NLNG currently pays over $2 billion per annum to the Federal government in various taxes.

The firm did back the report’s recommendations that more LNG trains should be built in the country, including the seventh train at the current plant on Bonny Island.