Petroleum Minister snubs ship owners

Indigenous ship owners under the aegis of the Nigerian Shipowners Association (NISA) are spoiling for a showdown with the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke over her claim that 60 per cent of oil lifting contracts for 2014 have been awarded to companies owned by Nigerians.

NISA Chairman, Chief Isaac Jolapamo, while addressing journalists yesterday at the Maritime Reporters’ Association of Nigeria (MARAN) International Maritime Press Centre in Lagos, said that the statement credited to the Petroleum Minister is misleading.

Jolapamo also said that series of attempts by his association to get clarification of the statement attributed to the Minister were not replied by her office.

“We even went as far as making series of calls to her number but no response. I also tried to reach her by sending text messages to her but to no avail.

“We have tried to reach them on our part. We have tried also to meet the Minister severally. We cannot force them to talk to us if they don’t want to engage us,” Jolapamo stated.

Alison-Madueke had stirred the hornet nest last week when she said that 60 per cent of crude oil lifting contracts in 2014 have been awarded to shipping companies owned by Nigerians.

The Minister said that the move was part of the Federal Government’s objective to encourage effective local participation in the oil and gas industry.

She said the balance was shared among some international trading companies, refineries and to some countries with bilateral trade agreements with Nigeria.

But the NIMASA Chairman had challenged the Petroleum Ministry to publish the names of the Nigerian companies that are lifting the crude if she is sincere with her claims.

Besides, Chief Jolapamo said that the crude oil lifting contract is nothing new and has not changed “anything”.

He said crude lifting contract is different from crude carriage contract which his association has agitated for over twelve years.

“The crude lifting the Minister talked about is nothing but the marketing of Nigeria’s crude oil abroad to buyers. What is important is the carriage of crude oil. No Nigerian company has ever carried the nation’s crude oil. The lifting contract should normally be tied to carrying contracts otherwise nothing has changed. Nigeria’s crude oil is still sold on FOB,” he stated.

Jolapamo also said that the Nigerian oil traders that were granted the liffting rights by the Petroleum Ministry have not complied with the “condition precedent concerning the engagement of Nigerian shipping companies”.

“As far as we know, no Nigerian registered shipping company has been engaged by the oil traders for the carriage (of crude oil),” he stated.

The NISA Chairman said the federal government should review the list of successful oil traders and publish the names of Nigerian shipping companies alongside the Nigerian oil traders.

“This is the least requirement if the government wants to demonstrate openness. That way, it will be open to all to verify the existence of the shipping companies and to confirm that they are registered with NIMASA and Directorate of Petroleum Resources,” he said.
Speaking in the same vein, Secretary of NISA, Captain Niyi Labinjo, said sidelining Nigerian ship owners in the carriage of the nation’s crude amounts to impunity against the Nigerian Content Development Act and the law establishing the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
He accused the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) of frustrating the efforts of past governments to engage indigenous shipping companies in the carriage of the nation’s crude oil.

Labinjo punctured holes in the claims that indigenous shipping companies lack capacity to transport the nation’s crude oil.

“Successive governments have been trying to make sure they bring in Nigerian ship owners to carry Nigerian crude but each time it is frustrated by NNPC. Obasanjo wrote it clearly that it should be. There is something they say often and which is very sad. They say they lack capacity. There is nothing like we lack capacity. You don’t ask me to go and bring a ship and tie the ship down before you will give me the contract. That is not the way shipping trade is done,” Labinjo said.


 NNPC releases list of 36 beneficiaries

Meanwhile the provisional names of the 36 companies that were awarded contracts to lift crude oil by the federal government through the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) from June 1, 2014 to May 31, 2015 have been revealed.

Although the list is not final as more companies are expected to make the final list, it signals a paradigm shift to indigenous companies as against previous preference for foreign companies, according to the NNPC.

The list comprises 21 indigenous companies; eight international oil traders; two foreign refineries; two subsidiaries of the NNPC and three countries, represented by their state-owned National Oil Companies (NOCs).

According to the document, 21 indigenous companies were awarded contracts to lift a total of 630,000 barrels per day of crude oil during the one-year period, representing 57 per cent of the 1,179,000 barrels per day awarded to the 38 beneficiaries.

The list also showed that eight international oil traders got an allocation of 240,000 barrels per day, representing 20.5 per cent of the whole allocations, while two foreign refineries got 60,000 barrels per day, or 5.1 per cent of the allocations.

Two subsidiaries of the NNPC were awarded contracts to lift 90,000 barrels per day, which translates to 7.7 per cent, while three countries, represented by their NOCs also got 90,000barrels per day.

A breakdown of the allocations showed that each of the 21 indigenous traders got an allocation of 30,000 barrels per day.

These companies include A-Z Petroleum Products Limited; Hyde Energy Nigeria Limited; DK Global Energy Resources Limited; Aiteo Energy Resources,; Avidor Oil and Gas Company Limited; Azenith Energy Resource Limited; Barbados Oil and Gas Services Limited; Century Energy Services Limited and Crudex International Limited.

Other beneficiaries include Eterna Plc; Bono Energy; Taleveras Limited; Mezcor SA; Sahara Energy Resources Limited; Tridax Energy SA and Tempo Energy SA.

The rest include Ontario Trading SA; Voyage Oil & Gas Limited; Elektron Petroleum Energy and Mining Limited; Ibeto Petrochemical Industries Limited and Emo Oil and Petrochemical Company.
Also included in the list are eight international oil traders, which got an allocation of 30,000 barrels per day of crude oil each.

They include Addax Energy SA; Elan Oil Limited; Mercuria Energy Trading SA; Springfield Ashburton Limited; Petro/Ietnam Oil Corporation (PV Oil); Sullum Voe; Vitol SA and Delaney.
Two foreign refineries – Fujairah Refinery Limited and PTT Public Company Limited received an allocation of 30,000 barrels per day each while two subsidiaries of the NNPC – Duke Oil and Calson were awarded 30,000 barrels per day each.

The NNPC also entered into bilateral commitments with the Republic of Malawi; SINOPEC of China and Indian Oil Corporation Limited, with each of these entities receiving 30,000 barrels per day.

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