The chief upstream investment officer of NNPC upstream investment management services, Bala Wunti, has said that Nigeria’s oil production rose by 350,000 barrels per day to 1.6 million amid reduced oil theft.
Speaking at a national television last Wednesday, Mr. Wunti said for many months going, Nigeria has failed to meet OPEC production quotas due to massive oil theft and other production challenges.
Nigeria’s recent draft fiscal strategy paper for 2023 through 2025 shows that oil revenue underperformed due to significant production shortfalls such as shut-ins resulting from pipeline vandalism and crude oil theft.
The NNPC had launched an application in August to monitor incidence of theft and vandalism but it would appear that the effort did not payoff much.
Three months ago, the NNPC awarded a multi-billion naira pipeline surveillance procurement to a former leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta, Mr. Government Ekpemupolo.
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Speaking on the effort taken so far, and results therein, Wunti said, “Today, we have end-to-end visibility. We can detect, deter and respond. We are still making a lot of improvements in our response. In responding, we detect, deactivate, destroy and remove, which is a complex process.
“Sometimes, we have to destroy a whole vessel. Removing these vessels is a big job. And we are recording significant success because of the improved security situation. We are now almost at an average of 350,000 barrels increase.
“At a certain level, we recorded up to 450,000 increases in a given year. So you can see, we’re now from 1.1 barely to about 1.59 barrels this morning. So these are some of the things we have been able to record on the new security architecture.
“I can tell you that we have succeeded to some extent to stop this menace,” Wunti said
He also spoke about the progress made in addressing the vulnerability of the Nigeria shores. “As I speak to you, Brass and Bonny are on force majeure; that is about 300,000 barrels deferred already.
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“We have been working hard with the private security contractor to return the Trans-Niger pipeline. Hopefully, we will open Bonny very soon. One of our major trunk lines, the Nembe Creek trunkline cannot be used because of security vulnerabilities, although Trans Forcados, Escravos, and Trans-Remo are back.
“Now, the previous security architecture was not working, so we carried out a robust diagnosis, which revealed major issues to be addressed,” he said
He also spoke on the nature of security system adopted in the current onslaught against oil thieves. According to him, the new architecture is anchored basically on rectangular architecture layered on technology.
“It brings together the security and intelligence agency at one angle, the regulators at another angle, the operators at another angle, and then brings in what was almost zero -the community into the other angle, and without the community, you can’t achieve that,” he said.
He explained about how the NNPC came about its figures on oil theft, pointing out that a lot of data has been quoted, misquoted and re-quoted in the public domain.
He said officially, and based on all the calculations that NNPC does, “we are losing about an average of 700, 000 barrels per day,” he said.
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According to him, Nigeria’s budget is anchored on 1.88 million barrels per day of crude oil production. In August, he pointed out, Nigeria’s reported production output was 1 million barrels.
Therefore, the difference between 1.88 and 1 million that’s what we are losing, he said. “We are losing an average of 700,000 translating to 21 million barrels per month,” Wunti explained.