Tag Archives: oil

WikiLeaks: “Nigeria has enormous potential” part 1

Extract from a leaked cable on Nigeria’s role within Africa:

Fawthrop asked the A/S whether he was in Nigeria to deliver a message or was it more of a fact-finding trip? A/S Carson stated that he was in Nigeria for both reasons in that he wanted to listen and engage with Nigeria. Nigeria is the most important country in Africa for the United States due to: the size of its population; presence of hydro-carbons; peace keeping role in ECOWAS, especially in Sierra Leone and Liberia; its seat on the United Nations Security Council; along with the strength and size of its financial markets the A/S continued. Nigeria has enormous potential and is the seventh largest Muslim country in the world with an Islamic population that will eclipse Egypt by 2015 according to A/S Carson. Having no United States presence in Northern Nigeria is akin to having no presence in Egypt and is why the United States is considering opening a Consulate in Kano.

4. (C) The United States is concerned about the power vacuum in Nigeria and the state of health of President Yar A’dua, per A/S Carson. The president is “very, very, very, very ill” and Nigerians are under illusions regarding the state of their president. “Nigeria cannot afford to implode or run aground.” 30 years of military government was not good. The United States expects a stable, legal, democratic, constitutionally-based government with no “military involvement, full stop” A/S Carson stated. It is important for the GON to do a better job this time around in regards to elections. Only ten percent of Nigerians saw a ballot ticket in the 2007 elections. If Nigeria brings credibility to its democratic processes, its economic processes will improve.

A/S = assistant secretary

ECOWAS = Economic Community Of West African States

GON = Government of Nigeria


WikiLeaks: Nigerian Oil: Bribes and piracy part 2

Selected Extracts from the WikiLeaks site on oil concerns,piracy, bribery and worries about Yar’Adua’s declining health (continued):

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7. (S/NF) Pickard agreed that the President's health is a guessing 
game. She said that in her recent meetings with Yar'Auda he seems 
alert but drawn in the face and frail. She reported that a Julius 
Berger (protect) contact says that the President was not in danger of 
dying soon but has serious ailments from which he will never fully 
recover. Pickard shared that Berger provides transportation 
including planes for the President and has reportedly flown in 
doctors and technicians to attend the President (reftel). She said, 
for instance, that her Berger contact confided that they flew the 
President from Germany to Saudi in September 2008. Additionally, the 
Berger contact thought the President would not return to the Villa 

ABUJA 00000259 003 OF 003 

offices, as they were moving the President's personal things out of 
the Villa. (Note: What we think this means is that Yar'Adua is 
spending most of his time in the presidential residence and not in 
the Villa offices. End Note). 

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8. (C) The Ambassador asked how comfortable Shell was with the new 
appointment of Dr. Rilwanu Lukman as Minister of Petroleum Resources, 
and the appointment of Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo as the new NNPC GMD. 
Pickard sees the nationalism card cooling with the removal of former 
NNPC GMD Yar'Adua, given that new Minister of Petroleum Lukman is 
more "pragmatic" and will hold sway over deputy Minister Ajumogobia. 
(Note: Ajumogobia's technical assistant told EconOff in a meeting on 
January 14, 2009 that the State Minister was focusing on Gas, since 
before the mass cabinet change he was State Minster of Petroleum, 
with a separate State Minster for Gas.) End Note. She said she was 
also okay with NNPC chief Barkindo. She has worked with Barkindo 
several times over the past few decades, especially when they were 
both working climate change. She said Barkindo led Nigeria's 
technical delegation to climate change negotiations that produced the 
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)and the 
Kyoto protocol to UNFCCC during while he served on its Bureau at 
various times. She indicated that although his undergraduate studies 
were in political science, he obtained his MBA from Southeastern 
University in Washington DC and did postgraduate work in petroleum 
economics and management at Oxford University. Although she also said 
terms like nationalistic and Chavez she however said that she thought 
he could be steered in the right direction on the petroleum sector. 

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9. (C) Although Pickard clearly seems frustrated with the way things 
are going in the maritime security, oil sector legislation, and 
corruption which affects Shell's bottom line, it was useful to hear 
that she has hopes for the new Petroleum Minister and NNPC chief. 
Septel on the Ambassador's meeting with new Petroleum Minister Lukman 
will address many of these same issues. 

10. (U) This cable was coordinated with Consulate Lagos. 

WikiLeaks: Nigerian Oil: Bribes and piracy part 1

Selected Extracts from the WikiLeaks site on oil concerns,piracy, bribery and worries about Yar’Adua’s declining health:

(S/NF) SUMMARY: Shell's regional executive vice president for
Africa Ann Pickard and government relations representative Peter 
Francis met with the Ambassador on January 27 in Abuja and provided
an update on problems in the oil and gas sector. Pickard said that
things were going from bad to worse, especially the security
situation. She said that Nigeria now had one of the highest negative
ratings for maritime operations, creating problems for Shell in
hiring oil tankers to load, as tanker operators will work only under
highly selective conditions. Last year there were about 80 piracy
attacks on land and water combined. This year already 15 have been
tallied, which includes 3 for Shell and 3 for Exxon. On corruption,
Pickard said that Nigerian entities control the lifting of many oil
cargoes and there are some "very interesting" people lifting oil.
Oil buyers would pay NNPC GMD Yar'Adua, Chief Economic Advisor Yakubu 
and the First Lady Turai Yar'Adualarge bribes to lift oil. Pickard
also reported an instance of the Attorney General Aondoakaa allegedly
soliciting a $20 million bribe to sign a document. The International
Oil Companies (IOC) are quite concerned about the "very flawed" new
petroleum sector energy bill. The IOCs will be asking U.S., Dutch,
and U.K. COMs to convey points on the bill to GON policymakers.
Pickard agreed that the President's health is a guessing game. She
said that in her recent meetings with Yar'Auda he seems alert, though
very drawn in the face, thin, and frail. Her information is that the
President was not in danger of dying soon, but also was unlikely to
ever fully recover from his ailments. (Note: see septel on oil/energy
sector issues for the Ambassador's meeting with the new Minister of
Petroleum Resources. End Note). END SUMMARY.
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3. (C) The Ambassador took the opportunity to share with Pickard that
the Mission was in the midst of completing its Strategic Plan and
asked Pickard where she thought Nigeria was headed. Pickard said that
things were going from bad to worse, especially in terms of security.
She said that Nigeria now had the highest negative rating for
maritime security, creating problems for Shell in hiring oil tankers
to load; tankers will work only under highly selective conditions.
She also noted that late on the evening of Saturday January 17,
Nigerian militants attacked and boarded two vessels at a Shell crude
oil loading platform in Bonny and took eight crew members hostage.
Standard procedure on the tanker was followed: the ship went into
immediate lock down; there were no injuries or fatalities from the
boarding. The eight Nigerian crew members who were taken hostage were
later released. The pirates who went through the sections of the
boat to which they were able to gain access, smashing and stealing
computers, electronics, and personal items of the crew members. The
second vessel was a tug boat towing a supply vessel from Bonny to
Calabar. Last year there were about 80 incidents of piracy; this
year already 15 had been tallied, which includes 3 for Shell and 3
for Exxon. GON officials have told Shell to "hire more security."
The price of doing business in the oil and gas sector in Nigeria
continues to climb she concluded. [Note: The International Maritime
Bureau (IMB), a division of the International Chamber of Commerce -
www icc-ccs org - reports that the waters off the Gulf of Guinea
(Nigeria) remain the second worst, with 40 incidents in 2008 to the
Horn of Africa (Somalia) with 42 recorded incidents. The IMB notes
that in 2009 the Horn of Africa will be more intense as Spring comes
due to the large number of foreign warships in the region on active
patrol to ensure the safety and security of vessels. The same
increased security is not expected for Nigeria in 2009. End Note]

(to be continued)