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NNPC clears air on stolen crude oil, averts $125m payment to syndicate 

By Monsurudeen Olowoopejo

After several months of investigations in Nigeria and China, the country’s National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has dismissed reports of stolen 48 million barrels of crude and prevented the Federal Government from losing $125 million to a private oil company that raised alarm on the missing crude oil.

NNPC said that findings showed that information received from the private oil firm, Samano Sa De Cv., through the apex government’s whistleblowing policy that 48 million barrels of crude oil were stolen in 2015 was false, saying, such quantity represents at that time represents a full month production since the country’s daily production was below 1.6 million barrels and it is impossible for such huge quantity to leave the shores of the country without notice.

The oil firm in a statement made available to newsmen through its counsel, Afe Babalola, stated that the oil was discovered not missing by Presidential Committee on Recovery of Stolen Nigerian Crude Oil after a visit to China and that findings from the trip was captured in the report presented to President Muhammadu Buhari which the committee also realized that documents previously submitted by the firm in support of its claims were not genuine.

While noting that the federal government terminated all communications with Samano after it became apparent that its claim was a hoax, the national oil corporation stated that its internal findings and views from experts had earlier revealed that such quantity could not have been moved out of the country and stored in China, a country with strict business policy.

NNPC was also aware that as at the material time and considering the fact that the People’s Republic of China is one of the most regulated economies in the world, the export of Crude Oil from Nigeria to China was exclusively undertaken by four known companies approved by, under the control, ownership, and management of the Chinese Government.

“It would, therefore, have been impossible to transport 48 Million Barrels of Crude Oil from Nigeria to China without the active involvement of the said companies. Again, from an economic perspective, it made little sense that anyone would store that volume of Crude Oil in China for such a considerable period having regard to the attendant significant storage costs.

“It is noteworthy that the Chinese Government had, through its officials, stated emphatically in response to this allegation at different fora including the United Nations General Assembly that there was NO stolen Nigerian Crude Oil stored in any port or terminal or storage facility in China”.

NNPC stated that after realizing all these, the Federal Government was no longer interested in the non-existent stolen crude and decided to cut ties with the private firm on the issue and that the firm resorted to blackmail and intimidation to force the government towards accepting its terms.

The firm argued that Samano threatened that it would publicize that the non-existent crude was already recovered, sold, and proceeds looted by senior government officials and other personalities if the government failed to give it $125 million.

According to the corporation, this demand soon metamorphosed into harassment as Samano embarked on a mischievous exercise to embarrass the Federal Government of Nigeria on international media platforms and before several international institutions like the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) all in a calculated bid to blackmail the Federal Government of Nigeria and NNPC into paying it a significant amount of money as compensation.

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