Fears Over Fraudulent Export of 24 Million Barrels of Crude Oil

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NNPC headquarters

NNPC headquarters

Barely three months after the introduction of Export Clearance Permit in the oil and gas industry, authorities at the terminals have uncovered fake Crude Oil Export Permit of about 24 million barrels belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

A copy of the fake document allegedly used by the NNPC to export the 24 million barrels of Bonny Light Crude worth $1.68 billion (About 268.8billion) for the third quarter (2012 – July-September) made available to Sunday Trust shows that most of the security features of the document were forged, including the signature of the Minister of Trade and Investment Mr Olusegun Aganga.

The Serial Number of the fake document is Q33006030, with permit number CPI/Co/28/Vol.V111/09, containing the name and address of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation as the exporter.

When contacted the Acting Group General Manager, Public Affairs Division, NNPC, Mr Fidel Pepple, described the allegation as outrageous, saying “we know that the export of crude is one of the most stringently controlled transactions in the country. Many government agencies are involved in the process and such abuse is virtually impossible.”

The ministry of trade and investment had earlier issued an original permit to the corporation with Serial Number No. Q3020760, with Permit Number CPI/CO/28/Vol.V11/08 to export 23,750,000 barrels worth $1.71 billion (about N273.6 billion) for the same quarter.

The crude oil export permit was introduced by the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment to check the excessive oil theft in the country earlier this year. The copy of the fake document was allegedly submitted to the Office of the Comptroller-General of Customs, Wuse Abuja on July 02, 2012 for notification.

One of the officials at the Customs Office, who doesn’t want to be named, said the permit was for the third quarter and it has ended last September, “so we cannot ascertain whether products have been exported or not using the fake permit”.

When contacted, the Director of Commodities and Products Inspection (CPI), Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment, Mr J. O Apanisile said it must be the work of enemies of the current reforms in the industry. He said one of the documents must be a fake.

He said so many unscrupulous things happen in this country. There is no way we can issue two different export permits for one company and same purpose.

“We are not aware of it, and thank God you people are vigilant about it,” said Apanisile.

The new export permit is part of the new guidelines introduced by the ministry in order to curtail the menace of crude oil theft.

It was estimated that Nigeria is losing about a $7 billion (close to N2 trillion) annually to oil theft.

“The country is losing approximately equivalent 180,000 barrels of daily at this time. Of course, to the nation, if you look at the international cost per barrel, it will be estimated at $7billion yearly”, said Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison -Madueke, recently.

Industry experts said majority of the crude thefts are from the fake records at the oil export terminals where inappropriate measurement is taking place.

According to the new guidelines released by the ministry, as part of efforts to check the menace, the eligible companies to export petroleum products are Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), International Oil Companies (IOCs), Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC), Indigenous Oil Producing Companies, Major Oil and Gas Marketing Companies and Independent Petroleum Marketing Companies with valid Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) licenses for storage facilities.

The ministry said the new permit will allow the approved companies export crude oil, Liquefied Natural Gas, Liquefied Petroleum Gas, Condensates, Refined Products, Lubricants and Grease.

Sunday Trust gathered that most of the oil companies involved in the export business of crude oil are not happy with the new guidelines and are deploying all means to sabotage it.

Before now, the export permit was applied by the department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) on behalf of the exporting entities, but with the new guidelines all the exporters must apply using their company’s letter headed paper; duly completed application form E001, attached with a copy of certificate of incorporation of the applying company; the company’s article and memorandum of association before getting the permit.

Other procedures include current production, storage or sales license issued by DPR; current weights and measures department certificate of conformity; original bank reference with committed and explicit statements and three years tax clearance certificate.

 

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