In light of the signing of oil deals totalling $115 billion, the Senate yesterday decided to summon the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Ibe Kachikwu, to throw light on the deals.
Kachikwu will be addressing issues concerning the $15 billion proposed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Indian government in the oil and gas sector.
The minister will also explain the details of the over $80 billion MoU he signed with Chinese firms in the same sector.
Apart from the $80 billion deal, the two largest oil companies in China – Sinopec and CNOOC – signed investment MoUs with the minister committing the companies to further investments in Nigeria’s upstream oil sub-sector to the tune of $20 billion
The resolution followed a motion on: “The need for a detailed explanation of the $15billion proposed investment with Indian Government and over $80billion MoU signed by the Minister of State for Petroleum with Chinese firms” sponsored by Senator Clifford Odia (Edo Central).
The upper chamber said the minister should appear before its joint committee on Petroleum Upstream, Gas and Foreign Affairs to proffer a detailed explanation of the subject matter of each of the MOU signed in China and the proposed MoU with India and their anticipated impact on the country’s economy.
Ordia, in his lead debate, drew the attention of the Senate that the minister negotiated a $15 billion investment with India, where the Asian nation would make an upfront payment to Nigeria for crude oil purchase.
The Edo Central lawmaker told the Senate that the two countries have agreed to sign a MoU to facilitate investments by India in the Nigerian oil and gas sector and specifically in areas such as refining, oil and gas marketing, upstream ventures, development of gas infrastructure and the training of oil and gas personnel in the country.
He noted that the minister carried out a road-show in China, where a MoU worth over $80 billion to be spent on investments in oil and gas infrastructure, pipe lines, refineries, power, facility refurbishment and upstream financing spanning five years were signed with Chinese companies.
Ordia listed the Chinese firms involved in the MoU as including China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO Group), China Cinda Asset Management Company Limited (CINDA), China National Offshore Oil Corporation, China Petroleum, China Petroleum &Chemical Corporation/Addax Petroleum and International Chamber of Commerce/ China National Development and Reform Commission.
He observed that outside the MoUs for $80 billion investment, the two largest oil companies in China – Sinopec and CNOOC – signed investment MoUs with the minister committing the companies to further investments in the country’s upstream oil sub-sector to the tune of $20 billion.
Senate Leader, Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume wanted to know whether the minister has the power to endorse any MoU involving billions of dollars without the participation and endorsement of the National Assembly.
Senator Abdullahi Adamu explained that what the minister did was “a mere intention that has not matured”.
Senator Adamu noted that when the deal matures, the National Assembly will be brought into the deal.
Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki thanked the movers of the motion for drawing the attention of the Senate to the MoU.
Saraki said the essence of the motion was to ensure transparency in a matter that involves future investment in the oil and gas sector of the country.
The minister allegedly signed the MoU in June