US Beams Searchlight on Ghana’s Saltpond Platform over Stolen Crude
By Ejiofor Alike and Paul Obi with agency report
The United States government has launched investigation into crude oil shipments from Saltpond platform, a small oil facility off the coast of Ghana, due to strong suspicion that some of Nigeria’s stolen oil may be exported through the facility.
The majority owner of the platform, Lushann International Energy Corporation, a private company based in Houston, has agreed that some of the oil it loads into tankers come from Nigeria but insisted that it purchases the crude legally from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which has the primary responsibility of cracking down on oil smuggling.
Though the investigators are yet to arrive at the particulars of evidence, a Saltpond official was said to have testified that the crude oil was got from the EFCC.
The platform, it was learnt, has been shipping large quantities of crude oil from unknown sources to Europe in recent months.
The Wall Street Journal on Friday quoted United States officials as saying that Washington was probing Saltpond as part of the broader enquiry into how Nigeria’s crude oil is being stolen and exported by local and international syndicates.
The investigation by the United States, it was learnt, stemmed from a recent revelation that the small oil facility is exporting large quantities of crude to Europe, raising questions by Nigerian and United States authorities about whether some of the oil were stolen from Nigeria.
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