Oscarline Onwuemenyi 18 June 2014, Sweetcrude, Moscow, Russia – India has officially replaced the United States of America as the largest importer of Nigeria’s crude with China and Malaysia following closely.
The United States, traditionlly, and for many years, was the largest importer of Nigeria’s crude, but in recent months it has drastically reduced its purchase which now stands at about 250,000barrel per day. Recent figures coming out of the nation’s crude oil sector, however, show that India now buys about 30 percent of Nigeria’s 2.5million barrel daily production.
Speaking in the background of the Moscow, Russia at the on-going 21st World Petroleum Congress, Group General Manager, Strategy, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Dr. Tim Okon confirmed to Sweetcrudethat the Asian countries are quickly replacing the US as preferred destination for crude exports.
Okon justified the country’s strategic pivot towards Asia in light of the rebuff by the Americans, but added, however, that Nigeria would not ignore any market in its quest to remain competitive in the global oil and gas industry.
According to him, “India is now the largest importer of Nigeria’s oil replacing the US. The US merely import about 250,000bpd, they were usually over a million. So that market has moved to Asia, and we are placing more and more of our cargos in Asia.
“Asia is important market to us at the moment, and in that respect we respect all markets. The important thing is to make sure that you are selling the products that you have and you do not ignore any market”.
He noted that Nigeria is participating in the congress to assess the global business and opportunities available in the petroleum industry to enable it position itself as a major competitor in the hydrocarbon market.
He said as a natural resources rich country, Nigeria needs to do a better job in developing these resources and translating them to the wider economy.
While stressing that the country do not have preference markets for its products, he however admitted that the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, currently before the National Assembly needs to passed into law to enable the country maximize its potentials in the oil and gas industry.
“I cannot talk about future incentives if the principal law that would give birth to it has not been passed but I want to say that the general intention is that Nigeria must compete in the market place and our fiscal system are designed to be competitive that would lead to good outcomes for the country.
“It is always helpful to do things in a timely manner and that is an important point to stress. Many of the countries that were trying to get new legislations passed like Ghana, Brazil, Mozambique and even Uganda have passed their legislation. So I think timeliness is of essence in this regard.
“But also we must give credit for thoroughness, so if the delay reflects the fact that we are trying to be thorough then that is a good thing. But I emphasize that timelines is of the essence because delay tends to leave uncertainty whether it will be passed or not.”