Venezuela urges Nigeria to keep firm grip on oil industry

Apr 29, 2009 02:00 AM

A senior Venezuelan oil official was reported by a Nigerian newspaper as saying fellow OPEC member Nigeria should keep a firm grip on its oil sector by adopting state-control measures used by the South American country.
Venezuela's deputy minister of petroleum Bernard Mommer said that Venezuela had to clamp down on oil majors including ExxonMobil, ENI and Shell because of the dominance they enjoyed and that Nigeria should do the same.

"Oil is too important that you cannot afford to leave it to [the] market economy," Mommer was quoted as saying during a visit to state-run Nigerian National Petroleum Corp in Abuja. "You have to intervene when activities of foreign companies are having an adverse effect on your economy."
"In our country, many of the multinational companies at one time had the majority stake and were making excess profit," he said. "Our national oil company could not have the majority stake." "The effect was that Venezuela collapsed," he added.

Mommer said Venezuela currently produces 30 % of OPEC output, with output around 3 mm bpd. Nigeria's output currently averages 1.6 mm bpd. OPEC controls over 40 % of world oil supply.
"The government of Venezuela had to ask them to migrate from the country and gave them some compensation," he said.

The group managing director of the NNPC Mohammed Barkindo was quoted as saying that a petroleum industry bill before the National Assembly would address many of the issues raised by Mommer.
Barkindo said there were lessons Nigeria could learn from the experiences of Venezuela.

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