The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has increased the number of companies referred to as off-takers of the country’s crude oil from 21 to 27. Last December, the corporation announced the award of its 2016 crude oil term contracts to 21 companies comprising international refiners, trading houses and indigenous downstream firms. But the NNPC revealed on its website on Thursday that 27 companies had been designated to be involved in the crude lifting process. Some of the companies are Oando Plc, Forte Oil, Sahara Energy, A. A. Rano Nigeria Limited, Eterna Plc, MRS Oil and Gas, Televeras, Duke Oil and Trafigura. The corporation had in October last year unveiled 278 bids by firms seeking to secure the contracts and stated that 16 would eventually get the award for the sale and purchase of the 26 Nigerian crude oil grades on offer. But without explanation in December 2015, it announced that 21 firms had been awarded the contracts, which were said to cover 991,661 barrels per day of crude oil worth $13.5bn at the prevailing prices at the time It stated that a breakdown of the 2015/2016 crude oil term contract off-takers for the 991,661 barrel per day Nigerian equity crude indicated that 240,000 bpd, representing 24 per cent of the total volume on offer, were awarded to four refiners classified as major current receivers of the country’s crude, with capacity to process all the crude grades. The off-takers in the category, NNPC said, included Emirates National Oil Coy, ENOC, Indian Oil Corporation, CEPSA Refinery Madrid and Sara SPA Refinery. “Each of the off-takers in this category was awarded 60,000 bpd,” the firm had stated. Although it did not explain the rationale for the latest increase in the number of off-takers from 21 to 27, the corporation had in December grouped three notable international trading companies, Trafigura PT Limited, Mercuria Energy Trading SA and Vitol SA, as firms that won the bid for the lifting of 32,000 bpd of crude based on their pedigree as large-scale buyers of Nigerian crude with structure for short-term freight intervention and storage. “The off-takers in this category represent about 10 per cent of total crude volume on offer,” it had said. It also stated that trading affiliates of international oil companies consisting of ENI Trading and Shipping SPA, TOTSA Total Oil Trading SA, Exxon Sale and Supply LLC and Shell Western Supply and Trading also received term allocations of 32,000 bpd each. The NNPC also stated that indigenous downstream players with wide experience in crude trading and large asset base accounted for 405,000 bpd, representing about 41 per cent of the total crude volume on offer. Source: PUNCH