NNRC Collaborates with Centre LSD to Review Crude Oil Sales and Reserves Management in Nigeria.

The Nigeria Natural Resource Charter (NNRC) in collaboration with the African Centre for Leadership, Strategy & Development (Centre LSD) launched a study on “A Review of Crude Oil Sales and Reserve Management in Nigeria – vis-à-vis the Social and Economic Benefits for its People”, in Abuja on Wednesday, March 28th, 2018. The findings of the Study were initially presented to stakeholders on December 19, 2017 by the researcher; Dr. Kabari Sam. The presentation included a historical analysis of hydrocarbons exploration in Nigeria from the advent of Shell D’Arcy into Nigeria and the first oil well at Oloibiri in today’s Bayelsa State highlights the importance of prudent management to sustain the economic contribution of the oil sector to the Nigerian economy. According to the Study, “Crude oil exploration and exploitation is the mainstay of the Nigerian economy. Reports estimate the export value of crude oil from Nigeria to the tune of $89bn per annum, and in excess of $600bn since 1970. In 2017, crude oil exports contributed up to approximately 11% of Nigeria’s gross domestic product (GDP) and over 90% of its foreign exchange wealth”. Going further, the report noted that to sustain the economic contribution of the oil sector, Nigeria aspires to crude oil reserves of 40 billion barrels with a production capacity of four million barrels per day by 2020 – given the crude oil benchmark in the 2018 budget, this will amount for a crude oil profit of $64.8 billion per annum for the country. As the mainstay of Nigeria’s economy and considering the alternative energy sources that have come on stream, effective management and investments to increase the existing reserves become paramount. The Review was undertaken using a content analysis methodology. The Study identified the gaps evident in Nigeria’s reserve management and the socio-economic benefits lost to Nigerians considering different scenarios. Results indicated that Nigeria is about the only country still practicing joint ventures as a concessionary approach. While the country has developed a production sharing contract model, efforts have been made to move from crude oil swap to direct sale direct purchase. Nigeria, the Study notes, stands to lose the socio-economic benefits of high crude oil reserve which include economic growth and prosperity, increased foreign direct investment, infrastructural development, skills acquisition and industrialisation if the reserves are not managed effectively. Assessing Nigeria’s crude sales and revenue management strategies using the Nigeria Natural Resource Charter (NNRC) framework as a guide, specifically, Precept 1, Precept 2, Precept 4 and Precept 6 which assess good resource governance practices against ‘strategy, legal framework and institutions’, ‘transparency and accountability’, ‘taxation’ and ‘state owned enterprises’. The Study notes that access to data on crude oil sales is often limited due to information mostly shrouded in secrecy in the name of ‘national security’ indicating the lack of transparency in the approach and manner the national oil company (the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation) handles the nation’s largest revenue source. This is a concern which the 2017 Benchmarking Exercise Report (BER) captured comprehensively. It further revealed that there are technological, economic, and regulatory gaps in crude oil reserve management in Nigeria although some policies have developed towards increase the crude oil reserves, recommending amongst others, economic diversification, urgent review of the petroleum fiscal policy, and the Deep water and Inland Basins Production Sharing Contract Act 1999 to maximise returns and benefits for Nigeria. The Study determined that an understanding of the crude oil reserves and its contributions to economic growth could drive the enactment of policies to address existing gaps in reserve management and increased profits from the petroleum industry to government. In developing countries such as Nigeria, information about crude oil reserves, sales and management approaches are considered as classified, it adds. This means, such relevant information will not readily be available and could be very challenging to access. The implication of this, the Study notes, is the inability of the citizenry to hold leaders of the country accountable for mismanagement (where they exist) of proceeds derived from sales of petroleum products. This negates the preposition proposed in Precept 2 of the Natural Resource Governance Framework on ‘transparency and accountability’ which posits that effective ‘resource governance requires decision makers to be accountable to an informed public. It equally highlights that the process for remitting crude sales, income from permit issuance and sundry revenue in the oil and gas industry lacks transparency, noting that this has made it practically challenging for any interested stakeholder to monitor royalties, taxes, fees and charges accruable to the Government of Nigeria from crude oil sales, licensing and permit issuance processes. There are deep controversies among state agencies on the quantity of crude oil mined and sold daily, particularly between government agencies e.g. the Ministry of Petroleum Resources (MPR) and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). It should be noted that additional difficulties are introduced where crude oil reserve targets are not adhered to by successive governments. Consequently, achieving the different milestones set by successive governments in the country have proved challenging. The adoption of lopsided fiscal regimes and traditional approaches devoid of current innovative technologies in the exploration and management of crude oil reserves it opines, have contributed to these challenges. It adds that as at 2017, the regulatory and policy environment does not support the government’s proposed target for target to maximise profit from crude oil sales to the government. The Study highlighted that to review crude oil sales and reserve management in Nigeria – vis-à-vis the social and economic benefit for its people, there is the need to among other things ascertain the actual figures of Nigeria’s crude oil reserves, determine the gaps in Nigeria’s crude oil reserves as compared with other oil producing countries. Also, efforts must be made to identify the implications of Nigeria’s crude oil reserves on the Nigerian economy now and for her future while proffering recommendations to address reform concerns in the petroleum sector. It is expected that findings from the research will inform policy reforms towards maximising profit from crude oil sales, increase crude oil reserves, ensure effective reserve management and deliver maximum benefits to the people of Nigeria. The study intends to review crude oil sales and reserve management in Nigeria with respect to the questions raised by distinctive precepts of the Nigeria Natural Resources Charter (NNRC), particularly, precepts 1, 2, 4, and 6 which assess petroleum sector governance examining ‘strategy, legal framework and institutions’, ‘transparency and accountability’, ‘taxation’ and state owned enterprises’ respectively. In conclusion, the Study points out that to address the identified issues and optimise socio-economic benefits associated with crude oil exploration and production in Nigeria, it is imperative to have an urgent review of the Deep Offshore and Inland Basins Act 1999 to ensure full operationalisation. The current PSC the NNPC have with IOCs should be renegotiated. Government should use proceeds from crude oil sales to diversify the economy. The fiscal policy should be reviewed to engender a transparent approach for crude oil sales, royalty remittance and reporting of volume sold. The NNPC should ensure access to vital data and reports as a matter of public policy and government should design and publicise the nation’s blueprint for crude oil reserve management integrative of timeline indicating a future without oil. Also it recommends that Nigeria should consider a complete shift to PSC given the cost implication and identified challenges of the JV arrangement while a security master plan for oil exploration should be developed. Furthermore, there should be clauses in the PSC or Deep Water Act that stipulates minimum fines for barrel spilled ensure environmental protection. It equally calls for increased advocacy on more transparency and accountability in the management of the petroleum industry while a definite plan for a Nigeria without oil has become imperative. The Study calls on the government to develop a more holistic and reactive tax framework capable of maximising profit from crude oil sales and also encourages investments into the sector. While SOEs such as the NNPC are making efforts to be transparent, more needs to be done. To achieve success against Precept 1 and 6, the President needs to assent to the PIGB passed by the National Assembly as this would engender transparency and accountability in the nation’s petroleum sector governance.