Nige­ria looks to Saudi’s Aramco as its model

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Resources -

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

sig­nif­i­cantly

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

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