• Nigeria records $3.038b, N60.997b loss in oil sector
• Oil prices fall as Russia promises high output
• We expect OPEC to hold firm on $70, says Kachikwu
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), its subsidiary, Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), and companies in the oil and gas sector are yet to remit $22.06 billion and N481.75 billion into the Federation Account, the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) declared yesterday.
NEITI made the disclosure at a remediation conference where it provided a summary of unremitted revenues, losses and reconciled differences in transactions and operations in the sector.
It insisted that the unremitted funds included earnings from oil and gas producing companies worth N5.2 billion and $152.69 million and another $498.6 million in revenue from companies involved in offshore processing contracts.
According to the statistics, the NPDC is yet to remit $2.38 billion and N51.95 billion while NNPC is holding on to $19.04 billion and N424.57 billion. The total loss to the federation arising from crude oil production, processing and transportation stood at $3.038 billion and N60.997 billion.
Also, unreconciled differences arising from the allocation, sale and remittance of proceeds from domestic crude allocated to NNPC amounted to N317.475 billion.
At the event, the NEITI’s executive secretary, Waziri Adio, expressed concern over growing remedial issues in the nation’s extractive sector. He regretted that regulations that set up the agency did not empower it to prosecute and called on stakeholders to address challenges of remediation.
NEITI equally raised the alarm over unpaid consideration on four oil fields in the NAOC Joint Venture assigned by NNPC to NPDC in 2012. It stressed that while the asset was previously valued at $2.25 billion, it was re-negotiated down to $1.554 billion, with NNPC claiming that before revaluation, it had remitted $1.65 billion from the gas revenue derived from the assigned assets as payment for the value of the assets.
Reacting, Peter Egbule, national coordinator of Publish What You Pay Nigeria, blamed regulatory lapses, weak institutions, determination by entities and individuals to divert public fund and the inability of government to act proactively.
He said while the Petroleum Industry Bill remains key to addressing the issues, the Federal Government must strengthen regulatory frameworks and show political will towards fighting corruption and blocking leakages in the oil sector.
Meanwhile, oil prices slid yesterday as Russia signaled output would remain high. Losses, however, were limited ahead of the United States’ sanctions on Iranian exports. The sanctions are expected to reduce supplies when they come into effect in just under a week.
Brent crude futures fell 12 cents to $77.50 a barrel while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude lost 30 cents to $67.29 a barrel. Oil prices also fell about $10 a barrel since four-year highs reached in early October.
But Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu in an interview in London yesterday said the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is likely to keep prices at $70 per barrel when it meets in December. He described $70 as the “comfort level for us and everybody,” saying he would be surprised to see anything dramatic.
Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Saturday that there was no reason for Russia to freeze or cut its oil production levels, noting that there were risks that global oil markets could face a deficit.
OPEC, led by Saudi Arabia and non-OPEC member, Russia, agreed in June to lift oil supplies, but OPEC signaled last week that it might have to re-impose output cuts as global inventories rise.
“When the Russians start talking about keeping the production levels high and even the possibility that they need to increase it because of a possible tightness in supply, that brought on some selling pressure,” Reuters quoted Gene McGillian, director of market research at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut, as saying.
Industrial commodities such as crude and copper have also been rattled by hefty losses in global equities due to concern over corporate earnings and fears over the impact to economic growth from escalating trade tensions, as well as a stronger dollar.