How Public Employees Facilitated a $1.2 Billion Oil and Gas Theft
Security sources have indicated that the actual means by which Nigerian crude oil and its byproducts are stolen, as opposed to unlawful bunkering, refining, or pipeline vandalism, are large-scale, illegal shipments of hydrocarbon products worth more than $1.2 billion to Europe and the Americas.
The sources made note of the fact that while everyone’s attention is 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 the resources to cartels and profiting in their personal accounts.
According to the reports, Europe and the Americas are popular travel locations since the free-of-charge goods are promptly purchased.
The sources claimed that millions of metric tonnes of liquefied petroleum gas and liquefied natural gas were being exported out of the country without records or documentation, pointing out that the nation’s commonwealth has been stolen for years.
According to the sources, some of the countries to which these hydrocarbons are transported with the consent and protection of senior government figures include Mexico, Brazil, the United States, and Argentina.
According to the source, the NLNG, which has the responsibility of overseeing the operations of such shipments, is a joint venture organization between the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, which holds a 49% shareholding, Shell Gas B.V., which holds a 25.6% stake, Total Energies Gaz & Electricité Holdings, which holds a 15% stake, and Eni International N.A. N.V. S.àr.l, which holds a 10.4% stake.
The transatlantic trail of looting
According to a source, NLNG has a total capacity of 22 mtpa of LNG and 5 mtpa of natural gas liquids (NGLs) from its complex of 6 train plants. It also claims 16 long-term Sale and Purchase Agreements (SPAs) with 10 clients and regulates around 6% of the global LNG trade.
According to the source, approximately $1 billion worth of hydrocarbon products were illegally shipped from Nigeria to Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and the United States over a five-year period between 2009 and 2013.
The insider emphasized that top government officials continue to support illegal exporting and provided a breakdown of some of the backroom deals, naming individual vessels by name and their IMO numbers.
In Argentina, the typical destinations for the items are Escobar, Bahia, and Blanca Ports.
“Three vessels transported goods worth $52.1 million to Argentina in 2013 in total. Untraced and without documentation, 354,018 metric tonnes of hydrocarbon products worth over $177 million were unlawfully smuggled to Brazil.
“One of the vessels shipped 62,608 metric tonnes of hydrocarbon products valued at $31.3 million; another shipped 60,000 metric tonnes of product valued at $30 million; and a third shipped 55,000 metric tonnes of hydrocarbon products valued at $27.5 million,” according to the transaction to cartels in Brazil.
“Two further ships delivered more than 120,000 metric tonnes worth of cargo to Brazil ports for almost $60 million.
“Hydrocarbon goods worth $177 million and totaling 354,018 metric tonnes were delivered to Brazil.
In six voyages, hydrocarbon products worth over $34 million were transported illegally by six different vessels to the United States.
Some of the well-known US ports include Cove Port, Lake Charles Port, and Sabine Pass Port.
Mexico is one of the countries where backdoor exports are made in the greatest amounts, according to the source.
“To dispel any suspicion, Nigeria LNG products worth $981.5 million were exported to Mexico over the course of 33 voyages on various boats.
“With no official paperwork prepared for the transfer, officials oversaw the export of the goods to Mexico.
The ships used to export goods from Nigeria all docked at the Altamira ports, one of Mexico’s 28 seaports.
The source claimed that over the course of the previous five years, illegal hydrocarbon exports from Nigeria to Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, and the United States totaled over $1.2 billion.