Efforts by the federal governments to curb fraudulent practices in the oil sector is gradually leading the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC,to firm its operations and stabilise its financial status.
The Corporation said its trading deficit for January had slimmed down to $50 million (14.26 billion naira) from $60 million (17.01 billion naira) in the previous month.
This is coming as the company struggles to regain its profitable position amid corruption scandals and government determination to overhaul the state company’s operations.
The latest scandal to shake NNPC concerned the hiding and illegal use of some several hundred litres of imported fuel in private storage facilities has cost four NNPC officials their jobs.
Nigeria’s oil industry has been in dire need of an overhaul for a long time, but it took the drop in oil prices and the militant attacks on pipelines in the Niger Delta to really push the government to act.
Minister of state for petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu has proposed a semi-autonomous structure for NNPC, effectively breaking down the company into several businesses, each focused on a specific segment of the industry.
Meanwhile, the National Assembly is working on a Petroleum Industry Bill that should curb mismanagement and corruption in oil and gas. The final report on the bill should come from the Senate on April 25th.
If the bill is passed, NNPC’s responsibilities will be streamlined into three new entities, the Nigeria Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NRPC), the National Petroleum Company (NPC), and the Nigeria Petroleum Assets Management Company (NPAMC), which will take over the upstream assets.
The plans are that both NPC and NPAMC could be allowed to market oil to encourage competition.
Nigeria lost over $100 billion over the last couple of years because of falling oil revenues and militant attacks that resulted in production outages, according to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara.
Losses were incurred from fraud, oil theft, oil swaps, and undeclared exports to global destinations.
The latter led to lawsuits against five global oil companies, among them; Total, Eni, Petrobras, Chevron, and Shell.