Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corpoation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanta Baru has said that Nigerian shipping companies do not have the capacity to participate in the affreightment of the nation’s crude oil.
NNPC’s preference for foreign companies in shipping Nigeria’s crude oil to the international market has been a bone of contention between the state oil corporation and indigenous ship owners, who have severally condemned it for frittering away value that could have accrued to the national economy, if their services were patronized.
Several Nigerian ship owners have decried the corporation’s preference for its adopted Free on Board (FOB) trading terms in selling the nation’s crude export rather than Cost, Insurance and Freight (CIF), which would have given them the lifting rights.
Sale of Nigeria’s crude oil has been on FOB terms for more than 50 years. Under these terms, buyers reserve the right to nominate the ship that will carry their cargo to the market. All Nigerian crude oil buyers nominate foreign vessels to ship their cargoes to the market.
Baru, who spoke through NNPC’s Director of Marine Logistics, Ibrahim Lamin, at the 2018 World Maritime Day celebration in Lagos recently, said most of the country’s indigenous vessels were not fit for NNPC’s job criteria even for petroleum products importation.
Disclosing that the corporation imports 35 cargoes of petroleum products per month, which translates to over 1,260,000 metric tons, the NNPC boss said, “There are no in-house vessels that can really accommodate our own type of fit-for-purpose work.”
However, many shipowners at the event including former Minister of Interior, Captain Emmanuel Iheaacho, faulted the unfriendly disposition of NNPC towards Nigerian shipping companies.
Iheanacho, who is a Master Mariner and Chairman of Integrated Oil and Gas Limited, none involvement of Nigerian shipping companies in NNPC’s shipments results in loss of value to the country.
He said, “We bring the oil to the wellhead and sell it, and somebody brings his ship and takes the oil from there.
“All the value-added services that take on from there – attaching the ship to the oil, lifting oil to the refinery, refining the oil and bringing it back, attaching ownership to the face product and bringing it back to sell to us at bumper profit – we lose all the time.
“In a general sense, we don’t want to sell anything on FOB basis so that we add value to it here. So, it is not only the transport element that we are looking at when talking about oil, the refining element as well will be taken care of; about the jobs that can be created in maritime, we are losing quite a lot.”