THE Senate, on Tuesday, summoned the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, to shed more light on the $80 billion oil deal with the Chinese government and another $15 billion memorandum of understanding (MOU) with India.
The Senate, which adopted a motion in respect of the oil deals on Tuesday, said it had become imperative to examine the MoU entered into by the Nigerian government on one hand and the Chinese and the Indian governments on the other hand.
The development is sequel to the adoption of a motion, entitled: “The need for a detailed explanation of the $15 billion proposed investment with Indian government and over $80 billion MoU signed by the Minister of State for Petroleum with Chinese firms,” sponsored by Senator Clifford Odia.
According to the Senate, the minister must come up with detailed explanation on the MoU he made Nigeria to enter into with China and India.
The minister is expected to appear before the committee on Petroleum Upstream, Gas and Foreign Affairs and brief them on the details of the more than $80 billion MoU he signed with Chinese firms.
Senator Ordia told the Senate that the minister negotiated a $15 billion investment deal with India where the government would make an upfront payment to Nigeria for crude oil purchase.
He also said that the two countries had agreed to sign an 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.
The senator further said the minister also carried out a road-show in China, where he said an MoU worth $80 billion was signed.
He said that the agreement entered into with the Chinese, which is expected to last five years, was to ensure investments in oil and gas, pipelines, refineries, power, facility refurbishment and upstream financing spanning.
Senator Odia listed the Chinese firms involved in the MoU to include China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO Group), China Cinda Asset Management Company Limited (CINDA), China National Offshore Oil Corporation, China Petroleum, China Petroleum and 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 Ali Ndume, in his contribution, asked whether the minister had the power to endorse any MoU involving billions of dollars without the participation and endorsement of the National Assembly or not.
Senator Abdullahi Adamu, however, explained that what the minister did was “a mere intention that has not matured.”
He noted that when the deal matures, the National Assembly would be brought into the deal.
Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, who rounded off the discussions, thanked the lawmakers who moved the notion for drawing attention of the Senate to the MoU.
He said the essence of the motion was to ensure transparency in a matter that involved future investment in the oil and gas sector of the country.