The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) weekend banned 113 oil tankers from lifting crude oil from Nigeria due to sharp practices recorded in the export of Nigeria’s crude.
The tankers, according to a document signed by Gbenga Komolafe, Group General Manager, Crude Oil Marketing Division, NNPC, were banned from entering Nigerian oil facilities and territorial waters.
The document obtained from Platts, a global energy trading information source, said, “The NNPC has prohibited 113 tankers from engaging in crude oil/gas loading activities in any of the terminals within the Nigerian territorial waters until further notice.”
The letter, Platts report showed, was dated July 15, and addressed to terminal operators in Nigeria, while the tankers were listed in an attached spreadsheet.
“The affected vessels have also been barred from movements within the Nigerian territorial waters forthwith.
“Finally, enforcement of the above directives takes immediate effect pending a notice to the contrary by Government, please,” the NNPC noted.
Shipping and trading sources disclosed that the NNPC’s grievance with the shipping companies stemmed from issues surrounding output figures related to crude oil exports at the port of discharge.
The sources who chose to remain anonymous said there have been a few incidents between Nigerian authorities and their crude oil buyers on differences between the volume of crude that was discharged, compared to the volume on the bill of lading.
A trader who is active in the West African crude oil market said, “We hear it is about the outturn figures, as there are sometimes differences between the loading and discharge figures, especially with certain countries.”
Another source with a shipowner that would be impacted by the potential ban said, “We are currently gathering information. A lot of market players have received the document and we have to take it seriously.
“The NNPC are asking for outturn figures but the receivers of the cargoes have this information, not the shipowners. They need to approach the cargo receivers, not the vessel owners.”
Other sources said the ban could be related to settling dues such as port and maritime fees, adding that the majority of Nigerian crude cargoes are lifted on Suezmax and VLCC tankers.
“We suspect it is part of a fallout from the level of scrutiny that NNPC is currently under,” a Nigerian crude oil trader said.
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