It has been said severally that from obvious indications, President Goodluck Jonathan has been completely imprisoned by the false intention of making fuel available to the Nigerian populace and regrettably, this disposition is what the manipulators needed to defraud not only our leader but the led.
As reported on August 10, 2011, Government of Niger Republic would from December 2011 commence exportation of refined petroleum products to Nigeria. The planned deal was said to be a fall out of bilateral discussions between President Jonathan and Nigerien President Mahamadou Issoufou.
In the mind of President Issoufou, the planned export of products to Nigeria would be aimed at bringing succor to residents of northern Nigeria, whom he said would be getting supplies of the products from Zinder Refinery in Niger Republic. Except my perception is wrong, the Nigerien president gave the impression that he cared more for the people of northern Nigeria than their own president and this is very dangerous.
Is it not funny that Nigeria, the biggest oil producer in the sub-saharan Africa should now depend on a country like Niger for refined products to satisfy demand in the northern parts of the country? When did Niger discover oil? Has the country even commenced production?
Border patrol security agencies fully know that Niger (at least sections of the country sharing borders with us) has been sustained by fuels smuggled by trucks and even camels from Nigeria. And now this is the same country that “has agreed” to export their excess refining capacity to meet the demands of consumers in northern Nigeria. Is it not interesting?
It was equally based on this Jonathan’s false intention that the Federal Government, last year entered the not -so -clear deals with commodities trader Trafigura and SIR, a refiner based in Ivory Coast. As we were told, the deal worth over $3billion involved exchange of Nigerian crude for refined products from Ivory Coast was expected to cover half of Nigeria’s monthly oil product imports of approximately 300, 000 tonnes of gasoline and automotive gas oil (diesel).
When the Ivorien deal was struck, there were widespread condemnations of the contract by oil industry experts who accused the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Ministry of Petroleum Resources of using inconsistent and highly subjective methods to arrive at the crude-oil-for-refined-product swap deal with Trafigura, an Amsterdam- based trading company.
Also, it would be recalled that the Ministry of Petroleum had in 2009 announced that Nigeria would be importing refined petroleum products from Senegal, a country where there is no oil. Although Senegal is not an oil producing country, there are functional refineries using crude oil from abroad (Nigeria).
The then Minister of Petroleum minister, Odien Ajumogobia, who championed the deal had explained that since Nigeria allocated crude oil to Senegal, we should benefit from the excess refining capacity from the Senegalese refinery. The operative word there is “excess refining capacity” by a country as rich as some of the not-so-rich states in Nigeria.
Since then, nothing is being said of the deal- whether we now get refined petroleum products from the country or Nigeria simply continued to give them crude oil under questionable contractual big brother relationship.
Without knowing it, it fast becoming the tradition to go to countries we are better than in terms of almost everything to get petroleum products in exchange for crude oil- swap deals that are best blurred and at worst obscured?
Nigerian Government should simply stop pretending it does not know why our refineries are not working and new ones not built because the so-called faceless oil cartel is afterall not so faceless. They have faces even though they may wear masks in the day time. The government- Presidency (Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the NNPC) know these people clearly well but cannot tell Nigerians the truth because some of the masquerades are human beings in NNPC, Ministry of Petroleum Resources and they take orders and report back to the Presidency even before Jonathan came. This is the truth.
Just look at this: the N450 billion oil counter trade with Trafigura was first dangled under the former minister of Petroleum in the Yar’adua administration, Rilwanu Lukman but was knocked –off by queries raised by the then President and some of his advisers over the costing methods and how the by-products were to be accounted for.
The same template that was knocked –off, was represented and smuggled through back door maybe in the night by Trafigura and its fronts. And guess what: President Jonathan secretly signed the deal either because he was sleepy or did not understand what was involved or maybe he was “adequately convinced.”
In this deal, Nigeria will be losing over 80 percent of the by-products of its oil as refined crude oil yields tens of derivatives and reformates which can propel the nation’s downstream especially petrochemical industry with its job creation potentials.
And as if that was not enough, the over $3 billion crude oil-product swap deal with Trafigura was sealed based on the Brent/Bonny Light crude oil price of $91 per barrel.
It is a known fact that between 2009- 2011, average spot market price for the nation’s Bonny Light is about $112 per barrel. Is the ‘game’ clearer now?
The question is: why are these funny companies like Trafigura and others buying up refining capacity in almost all West African counties around and/or near Nigeria?
Suddenly it has become easier to build refineries in all the countries surrounding Nigeria but not here so that the federal government can continue to “enter dialogue with governments of those countries to import fuels from their excess refining capacities.” Meanwhile, it is a known fact that almost all the countries use Nigerian crude oil as feedstocks.
Do you still doubt who owns the refineries across West Africa-Senegal, Ivory Coast, Niger, Chad etc? The owners are not very far from the so called cartel that has vowed not to allow any refinery function optimally in Nigeria.
Every day, the NNPC and Minister of Petroleum tell Nigerians that the three and half existing refineries now operate at 60 percent installed capacity. What they have not told us, or maybe they are not aware, is that some of the products from those plants particularly Port Harcourt and Warri are taken away and without going anywhere, returned to this country as imported fuel. Let the authourities deny this and we get concerned Nigerians to prove it.
Go to Port Harcourt refineries’ Okrika jetty you will observe bubbling activities throughout the entire Onne channel into the open sea. Are they bringing –in products or taking them away? The same thing happens at the Warri plant’s depot. The name of the game to deceive Nigerians is “bridging.”
Sizable quantity of whatever Kaduna refinery manages to turn out in addition to the quantity coming from the Atlas Cove and others as “bridging products” is taken away to Niger and Chad. The mafia –like fuel dealers in Katsina, Kebbi and even Kano and Kaduna, where do they discharge fleets of trucks that everyday troop into these areas? The products end in these funny places we are now going to import products.
So can the NNPC and the Petroleum Minister still claim they don’t know members of the oil cartel and why our refineries are not working and may never work to serve the common man? Self-deceit is the worst kind of deceit- na as ee dey pain me I talkam so?