Crude Oil: Nigeria Loses 250,000bpd in Q1, 2022 to Thieves

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……..Pipeline vandalism is a crime against everyone

The volume of crude oil stolen between January and April 2022 in Nigeria has risen to about 250,000 barrels per day, with a total loss of about $1,5billion, records from the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Ltd has shown.

Top officials of Nigeria’s oil company said whereas the volume and cost of stolen crude oil in Nigeria is rising by the day, the perpetrators have developed international markets and powerful linkages for the stolen products.

Records show that in terms of the financial loss to the Nigeria, in 2021, the total volume of crude oil stolen by thieves stood at 200,000 per day. At an average price of $55 per barrel, the total loss came to about $4billion.

At a media parley in Abuja, the group managing director of the NNPC, Mr. Mele Kyari said crude oil thieves in Nigeria have become daring and sophisticated.

According to him, a way to look at the virulent nature of the crime is to look at the rate at which the crude pipelines are breached with insertions. He pointed out that on a stretch of 20kilometers pipeline, there could be as much as 85 insertion points in three weeks!

“The Trans-Forcados Pipeline, which is about the most reliable of all the land lines, is not spared. It records about 19,000bpd loss per day,” Kyari stated, pointing out that there are also cases of sheer wickedness and adventure.

“There are cases of sheer vandalism where the lines are just blown out with explosives resulting in spillages and environmental hazard. In some cases, the perpetrators would be dealing with one sociopolitical issue or the other that has nothing to do with oil pipelines, or even with Nigeria’s oil system,” he said.

He stressed that in the areas of investment, pipeline vandalism and oil theft is affecting the Nigerian economy. “It has slowed down the gains the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA). Potential investors now ask how they can recoup their investment when crude oil is stolen,” he reasoned.

As part of the way out, he confirmed that President Muhammadu Buhari has marched words with action.

“The President has given marching orders to the Chief of Defence Staff to lead a war against the criminals.

In fact, all the security agencies have been mobilized to flush out the criminal element and restore normalcy,” Kyari said. 

He highlighted that the DSS and the Navy have already made some arrests. The NNPC boss confirmed that his organisation has also deployed community-based security outfits to monitor the pipelines.

He said in addition, NNPC is working on deploying technological tools for more effective surveillance and monitoring of the lines and facilities.

“EFCC and NFIU are also tracking movement of funds relating to the criminality. While there is hope that all the measures that have been deployed so far will begin to yield results within the next two months,” he stated.

He reiterated that oil theft and pipeline vandalism are problems for everyone. According to him, apart from the host communities that are directly affected by the environmental degradation, every citizen suffers the loss of national revenue when government does not have enough to provide social amenities and infrastructure to improve the quality of life in the country.

It is, therefore, imperative for all Nigerians to rise up against those behind crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism with a view to stamping them out so that the oil and gas industry can yield the fullness of its benefit to the nation and the citizenry, he said.

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