Cablegate: Nigeria: Oil Company Security

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Ambassador Jeter, Consul General
and CG Lagos staff met EXXON/MOBIL, Halliburton and
ChevronTexaco Managing Directors on May 27 to
encourage more timely notification of the Mission in
the event of hostage-takings, occupation of
facilities, or interruption of oil company operations.

2. (SBU) During a meeting hosted at Embassy request by
the ChevronTexaco Managing Director Jay Pryor,
Ambassador Jeter expressed concern about the lack of
timely Embassy notification of security crises in
which American citizens and oil production facilities
are involved. Most recently, the Transocean rig
takeover in April 2003 was not reported to Post until
almost one week after the crisis began. Ambassador
Jeter told the representatives that the Mission could
be helpful in resolving future crises just as it was
helpful in enlisting National Labour Congress
President Adams Oshiomole to end the Transocean
platform occupations and hostage-takings. He noted
that the Embassy could also engage the Government of
Nigeria (GON) at the highest levels including the
President, National Security Advisor, State Security
Service and others, as it did during the Transocean
crisis. In that instance, Embassy intervention may
have preempted plans to use military force that might
have proved dangerous for the hostages. Post also
kept Washington and other official players well
informed with up-to-the-minute analysis of the

3. (SBU) Company representatives expressed reluctance
to share immediate information with Post, fearing that
the Freedom of Information Act (FIA) requirements
might require the release of the information to
others, including the media. They pointed out that the
immediate aftermath of an incident was a critical
negotiating period when publicity could prove harmful.
Unless serious injury is imminent, companies prefer to
negotiate without Embassy intervention unless
intervention could be discreet. The companies would
be willing to be more forthcoming with information if
given assurances that the USG would not release
information into the public domain.

4. (SBU) Despite their reservations about
confidentiality, the companies want to maintain

frequent contact with the Mission on security matters.
All agreed that meetings to discuss security issues at
the level of the Ambassador and Managing Directors
should be held every two months. In addition, there
are regularly scheduled OSAC meetings for company
security directors, which are fully endorsed and
supported by company Managing Directors. The next
such meeting is scheduled for June 10. Finally,
company representatives were encouraged to engage the
re-elected Obasanjo Administration on problems in the
Niger Delta, particularly on security and the
breakdown of law and order, which have accelerated in
recent months. The three companies agreed that due to
this increase in crime, conducting business in safety
and security has become more precarious and difficult.

5. (SBU) The Embassy will be looking at ways in which
oil and oil service companies and the Mission can
exchange information in real time. It was agreed that
information received in a timely manner is the only
way to maintain the appropriate level of security. It
also was agreed that future meetings should be
expanded to include other major oil producers, such as
Shell and Agip. Future meetings will focus on
modalities for improving security for the oil
community, Nigeria's law enforcement capabilities to
combat rising crime levels, development of a Code of
Conduct for local oil company employees, and the role
of the Embassy's Corporate Responsibility Officer.

6. (SBU) COMMENT: The Managing Directors were very
grateful for this meeting. Noting that this was the
first time that the Embassy had taken such an
initiative to systematically explore ways of improving
oil company security. END COMMENT.


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