NewsWest AfricaTaking on the oily-garchs of Nigeria


Posted on Friday, 29 January 2016 15:54

Taking on the oily-garchs of Nigeria

By The Africa Report

With oil accounting for 95% of exports in Africa's biggest economy, Nigeria's state oil company faces its biggest shake-up ever.

Nigeria's New Look


Ending rackets estimated to cost more than $20bn a year is the top priority for President Muhammadu Buhari. He was elected in March 2015 and has been struggling with a 50% fall in oil prices.

The reform campaign will be an historical reckoning: Buhari helped to found the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in 1977 when he was oil minister in a military regime. He speaks of his frustration at seeing the chaos and corruption at the corporation since then.

A sweeping reform in the shape of the Petroleum Industry Bill has been stuck in the national assembly since 2008, blocked by heavy lobbying from local and foreign vested interests. This mega-bill aims to make the giant company more accountable by splitting up its policy and commercial functions as well establishing an independent regulator for the oil and gas industry.

It would also allow the NNPC to fund its operations by raising cash on local and foreign money markets instead of relying solely on the state budget. This requires full transparency and independent audits of the corporation's estimated $100bn in annual revenue.

Now the government's plan is to break the reform bill into different sections: the first, due in early 2016,will establish separate NNPC units for oil and gas production (upstream activities) and refineries and petrochemical plants (downstream).

Two massive new refineries, to be financed commercially, are in the works. The next stage of the reforms, due later in the year, aims to help raise much of the $50bn needed to boost gas production, which will power most of the new private power stations.●

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