Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Emmanuel Ibe Kachukwu, yesterday granted an interview to Bloomberg TV during which he spoke about a number of important issues, including efforts being made by the Nigerian Government to clean up the deeply-rooted corruption in the country’s energy sector.
The Minister, who was responding to specific questions about oil contracts at a time when Nigeria is seriously exploring offshore exploration, said that the Government “absolutely respects contracts.”
He also stated that the President Buhari-led Government has been dedicated to fighting corruption in the oil sector. This is because the fight against corruption is a mantra under which the administration was built.
According to him, every time the Government has had any reason to suspect that corruption has occurred in the sector, swift actions were always taken towards addressing it.
“In Nigeria, an oil contract is something we absolutely respect. As a lawyer, for instance, I understand that keeping to contract is key. In terms of fighting corruption, you know that that is the mantra on which Mr President ran for office. It will continue to be one of his laudable achievements during his tenure.”
He went further to assure that several investigations are into corruption cases are currently ongoing. Some of these cases happened before the present administration came to power, he said.
He also stated that the Government is cooperating with the international agencies and countries who are also pushing persecution of those convicted of corruption.
He expressed optimism that in the next five years, Nigeria will witness less corruption, a greater emphasis for due process, “due compliance, and deliveries on expectations in terms of legal requirements.”
His thoughts on the future of global oil
The Minister also spoke about developments in the international oil market, asserting that there is an unnecessary emphasis on the Iran-Venezuela shortfall. In order words, he believes that there has been an overestimation of the possible drop in the production and supply of crude.
According to him, the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has the capacity to cover some of the shortages that could result.
On whether oil demand is vulnerable…
The Minister said there is nothing to worry about as far as the demand for crude oil is concerned. This is because, despite the developments in solar and other forms of cleaner energy, several projections show that in the next ten years, “crude is what to what”.