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Crude theft: NLNG denies involvement in $1.2 billion illegal oil and gas exports

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Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Ltd. (NLNG) has denied reports that it enabled the illegal exportation of crude oil and natural gas in Nigeria.

This was disclosed in a statement by Mr Andy Odeh, the General Manager, External Relations and Sustainable Development, on Thursday in Lagos.

NLNG said it is simply not true that the illegal exportation is still ongoing with the backing of some top officials of government.

What the NLNG is saying

Odeh said the claims that the NLNG is working with an international cartel to illegally export products was untrue and an attempt to cast the company and its leadership in bad light.

He added that deliveries of LNG from NLNG’s Bonny Terminal complies with all regulatory requirements for the export of its products. He stated that deliveries are made through LNG sales contracts to destinations mainly to Europe, the Far East, Greater Middle East, North America and South America.

  • He said, “NLNG is a responsible corporate citizen operating its business according to strong business principles and ethics in accordance with requirements of relevant Nigerian and global laws and regulations.
  • From the commencement of its operations in October 1999, NLNG has never, and does not, engage in “illegal” exportation of LNG or any of its products, nor is NLNG involved in any international cartel, as alleged.
  • “It is simply not true that the illegal exportation is still ongoing with the backing of some top officials of government.”

He also disclosed that the NLNG trade undertaken by the company was bound by strict protocols and controls, hence not amenable to the kind of illegitimate schemes alleged in the report, citing that there were fully accurate accounts of destinations, quantities loaded and unloaded and related earnings on each cargo which were demonstrable.

He said the shareholders of the NLNG never reported that any cargo or product of the company was lost or unaccounted for, as they included the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd. and three International Oil Companies (IOCs).

  • Indeed, the possibility of such happening is beyond comprehension.
  • “For the avoidance of doubt, NLNG restates that the report paints a very incorrect picture of the company’s business and its LNG trade.
  • “It is at complete variance with the company’s vision as a globally competitive LNG company helping to build a better Nigeria,” Odeh said.

Back story

  • A report by Vanguard this week claimed that security sources revealed that the real looting of Nigeria’s crude oil and its by-products is neither through illegal bunkering, refining nor pipeline vandalism, but via highly placed government officials-enabled undocumented shipments of large scale hydro-carbon products worth over $1.2 billion to Europe and the Americas.
  • The report said: “The NLNG whose duty it is to supervise the operations of such shipments, is a joint venture organisation of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation with 49% shareholding; Shell Gas B.V., 25.6%; Total Energies Gaz & Electricité Holdings, 15%, and Eni International N.A. N.V. S.àr.l with 10.4%.
  • “In five years, from 2009 to 2013, over $1 billion worth of hydrocarbon products were exported using backdoors from Nigeria to Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and the United States.
  • Emphasizing that the illegal exportation is still ongoing with the backing of top officials of government, the source said gave a breakdown of some of the under-the-table transactions, mentioning specific vessels’’ names and their IMO numbers.”

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