While private oil producers have cooperated and complied with requirements to publish payments, Waziri Adio, the executive secretary of the agency known as the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, said in a March 7 interview in Abuja, that it has struggled with the state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. to do the same, Bloomberg reports.
The state oil company hasn’t explained what it did with at least $22.7 billion earned from the sale of oil licenses and in dividends from its stake in Nigeria LNG Ltd. over a 15-year period, he said. “The sector is no longer the black hole that it once was, but we can still use more transparency,” Adio said. “Things are opening up. There could be more in the area of contracts, ownership and expenditure transparency, but definitely there is some progress.”
Nigeria LNG is owned 49 percent by NNPC, 25.6 percent by Shell, 15 percent by Total and 10.4 percent by Eni. For all its work in auditing oil industry payments, critics say the agency remains toothless, lacking the power to compel companies to disclose payments or penalize erring producers. Adio however said NEITI’s annual audits have helped the government recover billions of dollars that would’ve been lost.