The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has called on stakeholders in the oil and gas industry to come out with recommendations and solutions that would address oil theft and boost production in the country.
Osinbajo gave the task while addressing the “Stakeholders Conference on Oil Theft and Loses in the Nigeria”, in Abuja.
The conference, themed: “Protecting Petroleum Industry Assets for Improved Economy”, was oganised by the Investigative Panel on Oil Theft/Losses in Nigeria under the chairmanship of retired Maj.-Gen. Barry Ndiomu.
“All theft and sabotage of oil and gas assets are a clear and present danger to our economy and national security. Not only do they pose a serious threat to all exploration and our energy economy, they also impact negatively on what is accrued to the federation and the business prospects on investors in the oil and gas sector.
“If not checked, this will fuel crises that will paralyse government and leave our country extremely vulnerable to all of the shocks and other unexpected consequences.
“Large scale theft of crude oil undermine our efforts to optimise the intended vision. Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI) put the audited figure of oil theft and losses at something in the order of 619.7m barrel of crude oil daily.
“And this is valued at $46 billion dollars or N16.25 trillion; and all of these losses occurred between 2010 and 2020,” he said.
“In addition, Nigeria lost about 4.2bn litres of petroleum products from refineries which were valued at over 1.4bn dollars at the rate of 140,000 barrel per day from 2009 to 2018.
“This is just an average, because, there are peaks where we see losses between 200 to 400 thousand barrels in a day.
“Institutional and personal reputation are at stake. I think that is the cardinal reason we are here. I employ us to exhaust decision on this matter.
“With the profile of discussants, I hope you will discuss appropriately and come up with recommendations that would profer solutions and achieve the over all objective of this conference.
“I want you to think out of the box and be courageously innovative in proferring your recommendations,” Osinbajo charged.
He commended Ndiomu and the National Security Adviser, retired Maj.-Gen. Babagana Mongonu.
Monguno said the presence of Osinbajo clearly demonstrated the resolve and commitment of the Federal Government to address the perennial challenge of oil theft and other related criminalities in the country.
According to him, addressing crude oil theft requires strong interagency collaboration with the relevant stakeholders, such as security agencies, the NNPCL, International Oil Companies and very crucially, the local communities.
Mongonu explained that a high tech real time Intelligence Maritime Domain Awareness Facility has between August 2018 and January 2023 facilitated the prosecution of over 200 vessels involved in maritime criminality within Nigeria’s Exclusive Economic Zone.
“In addition, 83 oil tankers involved in various crude oil and product theft have been arrested while the theft of over three million barrels of crude oil was prevented and 11 million litres of petrol and diesel were recovered.”
The Minster of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Slyva, said the theme of the conference was apt, adding that it will address some of the challenges bedeviling the oil and gas sector for decades.
Slyva explained that the volume of crude oil loss to non-state actors and the manner the situation has disrupted the nation’s economy is of grave concern.
“The oil and gas industry as the major source of foreign exchange for Nigeria’s industry has come under serious attacks, bringing serious losses to government revenues.
“30 years ago, Nigeria could produce over two million barrels of oil per day; however, today, it struggles to drill as little as 60 per cent of that amount.
“The concerted efforts of the government in terms of securing our petroleum industry assets is yielding positive results and this tempo will be sustained to achieve OPEC’s quota,’’ Slyva said.
Slyva was represented at the event by the Director of Downstream Sector in the ministry, Mr Mohammed Abubakar.
The Chairman of the Special Investigative Panel on Oil Theft and Losses in Nigeria, retired Maj.-Gen. Barry Ndiomu, had earlier said due to the protracted cases of oil theft, the Federal Government awarded pipeline surveyednce contract to some companies.
According to him, the company included Tantita Security Services Limited, adding that the strategy eventually led to the widely publicised discovery of an illegal connection used in the diversion of crude oil along the Trans-Escravas Trunk Line.
The chairman of the investigative panel further explained that the emergent picture suggests the existence of a sophisticated network of complicity between elements from the host communities, security agencies and industry players.
He added that they included both government and private institutions alike, as well as international collaborators.
Also speaking, the Group Managing Director of NNPCL, Mr Mele Kyari, represented by Mr Bala Wunti from the company, said security of oil resource is important to the economic growth of the country.
Kyari explained the various challenges faced by the company in the production of crude oil and called on all stakeholders to be committed in addressing the various challenges that made Nigeria to lose its oil resources to criminals.
The event attracted officials from Ministries of Finance, Interior, Petroleum, Environment and Education.
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