* State oil firm underpaid $8.3 bln from oil sales
* Billions from LNG earnings didn't reach government
* Previous reports on corruption largely ignored
(Adds details, background)
By Joe Brock
ABUJA, Jan 31 Nigeria's state oil firm NNPC
failed to pay the government billions of dollars in earnings
from 2009-2011, an audit showed on Thursday, adding to a string
of reports showing mismanagement of the energy sector.
The audit by the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency
Initiative (NEITI) - a government agency that operates as part
of a global EITI scheme - found that NNPC owed 1.3 trillion
Nigerian naira ($8.3 billion) from crude oil sales in the
The firm also owed $4.84 billion in dividends and loan
repayments from the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) export
business between 2009-2011 and a further $3.99 billion in NLNG
funds from previous years going back to 1999, the audit said.
An NNPC spokeswoman said the firm could not comment on the
findings because it had not seen the report yet.
Nigeria is among the world's top 10 crude exporters,
shipping around 2 million barrels per day (bpd). It is also home
to the world's ninth biggest gas reserves and one of its largest
Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) export terminals.
Africa's biggest energy industry has been criticised for
being corrupt for years. But audits and reports have never
resulted in high-level officials being charged and have rarely
prompted a change in the way revenues are managed.
NEITI said it would further investigate NNPC's rapidly
escalating fuel import subsidy bill, which the audit showed rose
from 198 billion naira in 2009 to 786 billion naira in 2011.
Nigeria has to import 85 percent of its refined fuel needs.
It tried to end fuel subsidies in January last year but a week
of public protests forced the government to partially re-instate
the payments, which are the biggest single drag on the federal
A parliamentary investigation following the strikes showed
how "endemic corruption" in the administration of the subsidy
regime had resulted in a rapid increase in payments between
2009-2011, with much of the money paid out on fuel that was
Some small fuel marketers have been arraigned for their part
in the $6.8 billion subsidy scam but no government official has
been charged. NNPC is the biggest importer of fuel.
The state-oil firm receives 445,000 bpd of crude oil to
refine locally but only uses 20 percent of it because Nigerian
refineries are in disrepair. The rest it sells, the audit said.
NEITI said NNPC then removes subsidy from the money it earns
from the crude oil sales before sending the balance to
government accounts, a practise the auditor said the government
should change because it left "gaps in the process".
A government-commissioned probe in November found Nigeria
lost out on tens of billions of dollars in revenues over the
last decades due to cut-price deals struck between foreign oil
majors and government officials.
NEITI's audit said Nigeria was owed around $5.85 billion in
underpaid taxes and royalties from oil and gas producers but did
not name specific companies. The audit said some firms were
seeking legal action on the alleged debts.
Africa's second-largest economy is growing in popularity as
an investment destination but corruption remains one of the
chief concerns for foreign investors.
($1 = 157.3750 naira)
(Editing by Tim Cocks/Ruth Pitchford)