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Nigeria: ‘Oil-gas sector mismanagement costs billions’


BBC News Africa

October 25, 2012

A leaked report into Nigeria‘s oil and gas industry has revealed the extent of mismanagement and corruption that is costing billions of dollars each year.

The report, seen by the BBC, was commissioned by the oil minister in the wake of this year’s fuel protests to probe the financial side of the sector.

It says $29bn (£18bn) was lost in the last decade in an apparent price-fixing scam involving the sale of natural gas.

It also calculated the treasury loses $6bn a year because of oil theft.

Nigeria is one of the world’s biggest oil producers but most of its people remain mired in poverty.

The Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force report is one of several commissioned by the government – and follows an outcry after a parliamentary investigation uncovered a massive multi-billion fuel subsidy scam.

That had been set up after angry nationwide protests in January when the government tried to remove a fuel subsidy.

Earlier this week, a campaign was launched to clean up Nigeria’s oil sector.

It was led by Patrick Dele Cole, a politician from the oil-rich Niger Delta region, who said that 90% of the stolen oil was refined in eastern Europe and Singapore.

The BBC’s Will Ross in Lagos says this leaked report exposes the extent of the rot in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry – all the way from the awarding of contracts to the sale of refined products.

It is staggering just how much money the people of Nigeria appear to be missing out on, he says.

Nigeria’s Oil Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke declined to comment on the specifics of the probe but said a report compiled from several committees set up earlier in the year to investigate the oil and gas sector was in its final stages and would be presented to the president soon.

‘Total overhaul’

The Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force, headed by former anti-corruption chief Nuhu Ribadu, revealed in its report that losses of revenue to the treasury over apparent gas price-fixing involved dealings between Total, Eni and Shell and government officials.

The report does not suggest the companies broke the law but called for measures to be put in place to ensure all transactions are more transparent.

It said that oil and gas companies owe the treasury more than $3bn in royalties.

For the period 2005 to 2011, it said $566m was owed in signature bonuses – the fees a company is supposed to pay up front for the right to exploit an oil block.

The report looked at the issue of discretionary licences which companies do not have to bid for.

Between 2008 and 2011 it found the Nigerian government had handed out seven discretionary licences, from which $183m in signature bonuses had not been paid.

A Shell spokesman said the company would not comment as it had not yet seen the report.

Our correspondent says it is well known that oil theft is a major problem in Nigeria, but the report says it may be reaching emergency levels as 250,000 barrels of crude oil could be being stolen every day – 10% of annual production.

The leaked report said that small-scale “pilfering” had been “endemic since at least the late 1990s”, but it also said it had heard allegations about thefts from crude export terminals, tank farms, refinery storage tanks, jetties and ports.

“Submissions to the Task Force alleged that officials and private actors disguise theft through manipulation of meters and shipping documents,” the report said.

“Yet there is also evidence that members of the security forces condone and, in some cases, profit from theft. The void in effective security likewise appears to increasingly hand over control of coastal and inland waterways to undesirable elements.”

The investigation showed that 40% of refined products – either refined in Nigeria or imported – currently being channelled through state-owned pipelines are lost to theft and sabotage.

Mr Ribadu’s investigation calls for a total overhaul of the industry with an oil sector transparency law requiring all companies to report all payments and publish all contracts and licences.

The Task Force also wants a special financial crimes unit to be established specifically for the oil and gas sector.

Libya, U.S. Probe Oil-Company Deals


The Wall Street Journal

By Benoit Faucon, Summer Said, and Liam Moloney

April 8, 2012

New Government Aims to Shed Light on Petroleum INdustry‘s Interaction with Gadhafi regime

Authorities in the U.S. and Libya are investigating oil giants such as Italy’s Eni SpA and France’s Total SA over their past relations with the fallen Libyan regime, potentially casting a cloud on the companies’ ambitions to expand their foothold in the country with the largest oil reserves in Africa.

Last year, a civil war that toppled Libyan leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi nearly shut down the country’s crude production, stressing global oil markets. But as oil-company operations return to normal, the probes may complicate the oil companies’ business in the country.

The Libyan general prosecutor’s office is investigating “Libyan and foreign operators in Libya” for possible “financial irregularities,” its deputy head, Abdelmajeed Saad, said in an interview.

In a March letter reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, the prosecutor’s office formally asked the head of audit at Libya’s National Oil Co. to supply oil-company documents. The letter mentions oil transactions between NOC and international traders Vitol Group and Glencore International PLC as examples of documents it is seeking. Though the Libyan probe focuses mostly on the Gadhafi era, the letter indicates that the request involving the traders includes the period of the country’s civil war through the present.

The companies investigated also include Eni, the biggest foreign oil player in Libya, and Total, Mr. Saad said…Read more.

Nigeria government orders audit of oil and gas sector


Reuters

January 18, 2012

(Reuters) – Nigeria’s government ordered a fresh audit of its entire oil and gas sector covering the last three years on Wednesday, the latest move to clean up corruption in Africa‘s biggest oil industry after a week of anti-government protests.

The move follows the opening of an investigation into the sector by the corruption watchdog and a separate Senate investigation into fuel subsidies — all announced this week.

As part of government’s anticorruption agenda, council today … approved the award of contracts to two audit firms to conduct a thorough audit of the accounts and activities of all government institutions and entities in the oil and gas industry from 2009 to 2011 with nine months completion period,” Information Minister Labaran Maku said.

President Goodluck Jonathan has come under intense pressure to clean up Nigeria‘s 2 million barrel per day oil sector, after a week of protests over fuel prices revealed public anger about corruption and waste of the country’ oil wealth.

Unions called off a week long strike on Monday, after Jonathan partly backed down on the scrapping of a popular fuel subsidy. He and oil minister Diezani Allison-Madueke promised prompt action to implement delayed reforms to the oil sector.

Maku named two Nigerian firms at the auditors: Haruna, Yahaya & Co. and Sada, Idris & Co.

“The audit would be carried out in all government revenue generating … institutions and entities in the oil and gas and solid minerals sectors of the country,” he said. “The audit firms shall access production, exports, imports and unaccounted oil and gas … and other relevant streams.”

On Monday Nigeria’s corruption watchdog on orders from Allison-Madueke launched an investigation into the subsidy system, sending agents to the state oil company and petroleum pricing regulator.

On the same day, her ministry announced that it had set up a committee designed to facilitate the passing of an oil bill meant to overhaul the entire sector.

Skeptics will point out that the Nigerian government has invited auditors into its oil and gas sector before — and failed to act on their reports.

A report compiled by international accounting firm KPMG into the opaque state oil company has been on the oil minister’s desk for a year, but no action has been taken on it yet.

(Reporting by Felix Onuah; writing by Tim Cocks; editing by Keiron Henderson)

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