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OPEC’s claims of Nigeria’s excellence in oil sector data deceitful—Expert

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Barely few days after the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has said that Nigeria has maintained an excellent record in the submission of data from its oil and gas sector in the past three years, industry experts have viewed the claims as diversionary and a ploy to deceive the government in its fresh quest to know more on real statistics bordering oil exploration and sales.

Few weeks ago, the National Assembly raised an issue of national importance, saying it remains very embarrassing that in more than 50 years of oil exploration, Nigerian government cannot know fully the real and exact volume of oil truly produced on a daily basis.

The lawmakers expressed anger that up till now, every data so far released by government on oil exploration and sales only comes from International Oil Companies (IOCs) who are clearly at liberty to concoct any figure and hand same over to the government.

In his opinion, an oil expert who pleaded anonymity said “If you take time to study the data regularly released by Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI), you will realize that the agency’s reports are always seriously contested by some oil and gas government agencies and the scenario had been causing serious rancor within the circle of government agencies in the industry”.

“Now with that experience, how came the OPEC come to agree that Nigerian oil industry data is always correct and excellent. That is why industry players like us will see that claims by the oil cartel as a serious plot to continue the cover up of ongoing shrouding of data and statistics relating to  how and what Nigeria regularly produce in the oil industry.

The expert queried the claims of the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Folasade Yemi-Esan, who noted that the ministry had been working with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and Debt Management Office (DMO), among others, to ensure accuracy of data collection, asking “Why there has always serious disagreement between NEITI statistics and other government’s agencies on critical data relating to the oil industry”The Head, Data Services Department at OPEC, Mr. Adedapo Odulaja, had during the cartel’s data management training workshop at the headquarters of the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) in Abuja, claimed that Nigeria during the period under review submitted accurate, complete and timely data of activities in its oil sector.

He also added that Nigeria was among the first three nations in the cartel that performed excellently in that regard.

He said, “The performance of Nigeria in submitting data to OPEC has been very excellent in the past three years. The data submitted are as accurate as possible and complete.

“We lay emphasis on data because the material we work with at OPEC is data and not crude, and these data are collected from all member countries of the organisation.”

Also, the OPEC Governor for Nigeria, Omar Farouk, said the country ranked third among member nations in the submission of data to the organisation.

According to him, “In the last three years, things have changed; OPEC is very happy with us; the accuracy of our data has improved tremendously. Also, the timeliness of the submission of our data has improved tremendously. I believe that as of today, we are the third in the hierarchy of data submission”.

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