Nigeria looks to Saudi’s Aramco as its model
NIGERIA’S energy minister has said in Vienna that the Saudi Arabian state-owned oil monopoly Aramco is a model for the restructuring of his nation’s oil industry.
Odein Ajumogobia, who began as minister only six weeks ago, also stressed a ‘‘ misalignment’’ between the objectives of private, foreign oil companies and the aspirations of the country.
‘‘ Saudi Aramco is perhaps the ultimate goal of where we would like to be, but we are a long way from that,’’ he said, referring to the Saudi kingdom’s oil monopoly, the biggest in the world.
His comments indicate the desire of the new Nigerian Government to tighten control overproduction in the oil-rich African state, whose industry is dominated by joint ventures with foreign groups such as ExxonMobil and ChevronTexaco, Shell, and Eni.
Aramco is a 100 per cent stateowned group that manages all of the oil industry in Saudi Arabia, which has about a quarter of the world’s proven oil reserves and is the world’s biggest exporter.
Ajumogobia also told a press conference that there was a ‘‘ misalignment between our national aspirations as a country and the commercial objectives of some of our JV (joint venture) partners.’’ He referred to funding for projects and the use of gas produced in the country as two areas where the two sides did not have the same objectives.
Restructuring the National Petroleum Corporation was ‘‘ the central theme of the reorganisation of the industry’’. The NNPC, which previously oversaw all commercial and regulatory issues in the industry, is to become a more assertive company that brings together state production assets and ‘‘ is driven by a profit motive’’.
The previous head of the company was sacked in July and the Government announced the unbundling of the group into five separate organisations at the end of August.
Ajumogobia also spoke about the troubled Niger Delta area, the heart of Nigeria’s oil industry, where militant attacks on installations and foreign workers have crude output.
He said that a government ‘‘ masterplan’’ would tackle the root of problems in the area, including endemic poverty, and that the situation had
reduced improved slightly recently. ‘‘ The crisis there is not as bad as it used to be,’’ he said.
‘‘ Some of the areas where we didn’t have access, we now do.’’
Delta gold: Nigeria is working towards bringing more political stability to the oil-rich Niger Delta area