Nigeria: Oil Industry Operators Urged to End Unethical Practices

9 April 2001

Lagos — The Nigerian oil industry is in danger of suffering a severe damage to its image, unless urgent steps are taken to check an unethical practice that has crept into the industry, a senior official Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation warned here last week.

"Clandestine sourcing of classified information during tendering process," said Sunday Adetunji, Group General Manger of the National Petroleum Investment Management Services, was rapidly "engulfing the industry." Adetuji spoke at a conference organized by Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria for its contractors.

Adentuji delivered a keynote address on behalf of NAPIMS, a full subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation. He said the image of the Nigerian oil industry outside "has suffered severe damage on account of this development."

He said this development had given rise to a "common detrimental comment on Nigerian oil industry contracting process: that you either win or petition." He said the time had come for all stakeholders in the industry to "come up with strategies to check the development."

Earlier in his speech, John Barry, Development Director for SPDC, had listed issued to be discussed at the conference to include safety and quality matters, business ethics and integrity, as well as local content of Shell s operations in the country. He later told journalists that Shell had achieved 30 percent indigenous content. He described this as "a lot for such a high tech operation."

On safety, SPDC admitted its records had fallen below its expectations. The company said it recorded 19 fatalities in 1999, while the number rose to 21 last year. Arinze Oduah, Safety Advisor for the company, who disclosed this figures in his presentation, described them as "very, very poor."

Barry blamed the increase in fatalities on increased marine transportation due in turn to growth marine activities. This level of marine activity is bound to increase as the company steps up its offshore exploration and production activities.

Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company, a subsidiary of SPDC, is currently developing its Bonga Field, which is billed to start production in year 2003. Bonga filed is a deep offshore field, the first to be developed in Nigeria.

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