Chad minister defends oil ultimatum

A Chad minister has confirmed that his country's decision to expel US giant Chevron and Malaysia's Petronas was for failing to pay their tax and was not aimed to nationalising Chad's oil industry.

    Chad produces about 160,000 barrels of oil a day

    Speaking from Kuala Lumpur, Mahamat Bechir Okormi said that the solution was for the companies to pay their outstanding tax, and reiterated that the government was not interested in gaining control of the country's oil production.

     

    "The problem was that Petronas and Chevron had to pay tax, then they arranged with a certain individual, a minister, in order to get a tax exemption," he said.

     

    "In Chad, only the national assembly can exempt companies, not a minister."

     

    Okormi was in Malaysia attending a meeting of Islamic nations discussing corruption.

     

    A history of corruption

     

    Petronas had said at the weekend it had not received any official notification of the move and was seeking information from the government.

     

    Chad's surprise move followed its decision to create a national oil company which it said should become a partner in the country's existing oil-producing consortium, led by Exxon Mobil and including Chevron and Petronas.

     

    Petronas holds 35% of the consortium, Chevron 25%, and Exxon the remaining 40%.

     

    Chad's government has been known to use oil as a bargaining tool to threaten companies and organisations before.

     

    In April it said it would stop oil production unless the World Bank unlocked an oil revenue account frozen in a dispute over how it spent its oil profits.

     

    A Transparency International survey ranked Chad last year as the world's most corrupt state. Chad began pumping crude oil in 2003 and produces about 16,000 to 17,000 barrels per day.

    SOURCE: Reuters


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Life after death row: The pastor praying for Nigeria's prisoners

    The Nigerian pastor adapting to life after death row

    Clinton Kanu spent 27 years in prison for a murder he did not commit, but life on the outside feels far from free.

    What it means to love a dead child

    What it means to love a dead child

    You must forget all you thought you knew about grief when the landscape of your life has been demolished.

    'Butchered': The Kenyan FGM clinic serving Europeans

    'Butchered': The Kenyan FGM clinic serving Europeans

    Kenya banned FGM in 2011, but Europeans still bring their daughters to underground clinics there to be cut.