Counters reports – and insinuations – in national press
Portugal’s minister of the environment, Duarte Cordeiro, reiterated today his confidence that Nigeria – the country’s main supplier of natural gas – will meet deliveries foreseen in long-term contracts.
At issue is a report published last week in Jornal Negócios, which said Nigeria had already failed to deliver four deliveries of natural gas to Portugal, programmed to have arrived by August. It was this failure that led the secretary of state for energy, João Galamba, to travel to the African country recently, in order to guarantee contractual deliveries, said the paper.
“There was some misinformation here”, Duarte Cordeiro told a press conference on the €3 billion government package created to support companies’ energy bills. “It was understood that what were the deliveries that did not correspond to the contract, there was an understanding that they had happened recently. It is not a fact, they were happening from the end of last year until this year, they were distributed over time.”
“We have confidence in Nigeria and in what is the fulfilment of the contracts they have with us. This is what we expect, and this is what we will seek to see happen,” he insisted.
Foreign Minister João Gomes Cravinho equally said in Paris last week that Portugal “believes” Nigeria is making “every effort” to deliver the gas it has committed to supplying.
These contracts provide for “penalties and deadlines”, he added.
“The commitments are of a commercial nature, and the contracts have clauses that provide for penalties and deadlines, different elements that are in a relationship of this nature. Portugal has a diverse range of suppliers, and we believe that, on the Nigerian side, every effort will be made to keep its word.”
This is not what Expresso columnist Helena Matos suggested last month, in a relatively unsettling text entitled: “ “Nigerian fraudsters strike again, only this time they are Portuguese“.
Following Helena Matos’ text, Duarte Cordeiro told reporters that he “wanted to believe Nigeria would comply with supply contracts”, because if it doesn’t, there could be price changes (and they will not be changes downwards).