The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, has said revenues from the sale of Nigerian crude oil that is constantly stolen by oil thieves are not laundered through African banks but through entities that are far away from home and in strange environment.
Alison-Madueke stated this in Abuja when she gave updates on burning issues in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry amongst others.
Although she did not disclose the outcome of government’s investigations on theft of Nigeria’s crude oil, she however stated that the government’s efforts in the last 18 months led to this discovery. ‘
She assured that the government would seek improved intelligence to map the various paths of the stolen crude trade.
“With the work we have done over the last 18 months we have set up various committees to fight this scourge, but it was clear from the beginning that we could not do it alone. The reason being that stolen crude is not necessarily being refined in the Gulf of Guinea; it is being refined in other parts.
“In addition, the money from this stolen crude is not been laundered through African banks, for the most part, it is going to entities much further afield, which means we must do this in partnership with foreign governments. Happy to say we have begun to discuss from the presidential level down with a number of foreign governments who have been very keen to work with us on this.”
“It is critical to have the intelligence to map the path of the stolen crude to make it unattractive at the point of receipt to make it more unattractive from the point of stealing it,” she added.
Even though disputed in some quarters, Nigeria’s daily crude oil loss to theft is projected to be in the region of about 150,000 barrels per day (bpd), a situation which seriously impacts on the country’s revenue collection from her oil and gas resources.
The minister also provided clarifications on the government’s planned privatisation of the country’s four refineries which have collective installed refining capacities of 445,000barrels per day. She noted that the government would carry members of labour unions in the oil and gas sector along in the privatisation process.
“As you know we started with the TAM with the original contractors that built the refineries with the intent of ensuring that the right people carry out the TAM once and for all. Unfortunately, the actual negotiations have been an extremely drawn out one because of the prices that they came in with.
“So it has taken a number of months of robust negotiations to get to the point with Port Harcourt refinery where we can actually begin to implement the work. Once that is close to completion Kaduna and Warri will continue,” she said.
Alison-Madueke added: “The intent was to ensure that government does not sell the refineries when we do privatise in the worst possible state to ensure that we get some commercial value for these refineries. We will kick off the privatisation rounds, we will have all the due negotiations with the unions to ensure that we are all working together to ensure that it is a win-win situation for all parties at the end of the day.
“But it goes without saying that over the last 20 years, government has not done too well at handling major infrastructure and government should not be in the business of handling infrastructure. Let the private sector come in and let us see competitive efficacy in the handling of these major entities in the interest of our economy.”