The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Sunday announced that scammers were behind about 98 per cent of all documents involved in the marketing of crude oil, and warned the public against falling victim.
It cautioned interested crude oil buyers to be mindful of the activities of local and international fraudsters in the oil and gas sector.
Proving insights into the strategy of the scammers, the NNPC’s Group General Manager, Crude Oil Marketing Division, Mele Kyari, said unlike the scammers, the corporation had no habit of selling crude oil from hotel rooms.
Kyari stated that a silver lining in the unfortunate incidence of fraud was the fact that NNPC documents had not leaked, stressing that nearly 98 per cent of all the documents involved were produced by scammers.
He noted that in line with the Federal Government’s anti-corruption crusade and the corporation’s commitment to transparency and accountability, the NNPC had been collaborating with relevant security agencies such as the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (DSS) to check the fraudsters.
“Already, this massive collaboration with security agencies is paying off. Some arrests have been made while, on our part, we assist the security agencies by providing evidence in the course of their prosecution,” he was quoted in a statement issued by the NNPC’s spokesperson, Ndu Ughamadu.
Kyari said the scammers usually lured their unsuspecting victims with higher discount offers on cargoes, offers of non-OPEC crude specification, crude allocation, and presentation of crude oil sale letters, as well as conducting business from hotels.
“The entire public should know that the NNPC doesn’t do business of crude oil marketing from hotel rooms,” he said.
Kyari stressed that there was only one way of buying crude oil from the NNPC, which was through advertisement for the selection of customers screened for compliance with the corporation’s expectations and standards.
He said, “There are very high standards we have set and if you don’t meet them, you cannot be our customer. And once you become our customer, we sign a single annual contract with you.”
He observed that the crude contracts were typically 30,000 to 32,000 barrels per day, which accumulated into a standard cargo size of 950,000bpd monthly and not two to three million bpd contracts as peddled by the scammers.
Kyari noted that for the crude oil sale processes to be completed, the customer had to show the capability to sell the cargo to the market and that the corporation could get its money back.
According to him, the entire process of crude oil marketing had become seamless and real-time with electronic platforms such as Platts and Argus acting as reporting agencies for global crude trading programmes.
He said, “The beauty of selling crude oil is that the moment we sell the crude oil cargo to you, the entire world knows that cargo X is with Mr. Y. So you see, you don’t have to scavenge for who buys your crude.”
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