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According to security sources, the true looting of Nigeria’s crude oil and byproducts occurs not through illegal bunkering, refining, or pipeline vandalism, but rather through highly placed government officials-enabled undocumented shipments of large scale hydro-carbon products worth more than $1.2 billion to Europe and the Americas.
While all eyes are on the fight against illegal oil bunkering and pipeline vandalism, top government officials of agencies expected to perform supervisory and due diligence roles in the sale and shipment of the nation’s vast hydrocarbon resources are trading away the resources to cartels and reaping the benefits in their own pockets, according to the sources.
According to the sources, Europe and the Americas are popular destinations because the products, which are sold at bargain prices, are paid for immediately.
The sources said that Liquefied Petroleum Gas and Liquefied Natural Gas were being shipped out of the country in millions of metric tonnes without records or documentation, noting that the nation’s commonwealth has been looted for years.
According to the sources, Mexico, Brazil, the United States, and Argentina are among the countries to which these hydrocarbons are shipped with the knowledge and protection of top government officials.
According to the source, the NLNG, whose duty it is to supervise the operations of such shipments, is a joint venture organization of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (49%), Shell Gas B.V. (25.6%), Total Energies Gaz & Electricité Holdings (15%), and Eni International N.A. N.V. S.àr.l (10.4%).
The transatlantic scavenging route
According to a source, NLNG has a total production capacity of 22 million tons per annum of LNG and five million tons per annum of Natural Gas Liquids (NGLs) from its six-train plant complex, has 16 long-term Sale and Purchase Agreements (SPAs) with ten buyers, and controls approximately 6% of global LNG trade.
According to the source, “from 2009 to 2013, over $1 billion in hydrocarbon products were exported through backdoors from Nigeria to Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and the United States.”
The source stated that illegal exportation is still taking place with the support of top government officials and provided a breakdown of some of the under-the-table transactions, mentioning specific vessel names and IMO numbers.
In Argentina, the products are typically shipped to Escobar, Bahia, and Blanca ports.
“The total value of products shipped to Argentina by three vessels in 2013 was $52.1 million.” 354,018 metric tons of hydrocarbon products worth more than $177 million were illegally exported to Brazil with no trace or documentation.”
“Over $34 million in hydrocarbon products were illegally exported to the United States in six trips aboard six different vessels.”
Popular US ports include Cove Port, Lake Charles Port, and Sabine Pass Port.
Mexico, according to the source, is one of the destinations with the highest volume of backdoor export.
“To avoid any form of suspicion, Nigeria LNG products worth $981.5 million were exported to Mexico in 33 trips using different vessels.”
“With no official paperwork prepared for the export, officials supervised the exportation of the products to Mexico.”
“Of Mexico’s 28 seaports, the vessels used to export products from Nigeria all docked at Altamira ports.”
The source revealed that in total, over $1.2 billion worth of hydrocarbon products have been illegally exported through back and covered channels from Nigeria to Argentina, Mexico, Brazil and USA in the last five years.