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1 Nov 2013

Berne Declaration report re oil trading & Nigeria - company responses & non-responses

In a November 2013 report, "Swiss traders’ opaque deals in Nigeria", Berne Declaration contrasted the great oil wealth and strong recent economic growth in Nigeria, with the lack of development, including low levels of education and health, in Nigeria.  It said, "Oil, which makes up 58% of State income, is clearly not contributing to the development of this country as much as it could and above all as much as it should."  The report raises concerns about sales by Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. (NNPC) to oil traders based in Switzerland at below-market rates, and deals between Swiss trading firms and Nigerian individuals and companies suspected or accused of corruption.  The report accuses Swiss trading firms of "misappropriation of [Nigerian] import subsidies" for refined oil products (petrol, kerosene, etc.) and alleges that certain Swiss firms provide "a haven for Nigerian fraudsters".

The report concludes that the theft and waste of billions of dollars in oil revenues in Nigeria, and the "inequalities whose exceptional violence is quite visible in Nigeria, are made possible by the complexity and opacity that characterise the petroleum industry, whether it be production, trading or distribution."  Its recommendations include greater transparency by Swiss firms and their commercial partners in Nigeria.

We invited the principal firms named in the report to respond to the report's allegations.

 The report also refers to Aiteo Energy (which has been dissolved), Gunvor and other companies.

Company Responses

Mercuria Energy View Response
MRS Holdings View Response
Sahara Energy View Response
Trafigura Beheer View Response