The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Ltd has made a public presentation for oil thieves and pipeline vandals to be treated as persons who committed capital crimes and should be made to pay the supreme price.

The group chief executive officer, Mr. Mele Kyari who stated this before the Senate’s joint committees on petroleum (downstream), petroleum (upstream) and gas, agreed with the recommendation made by members, that capital punishment should be put in place for offenders.

According to him, the crime on oil theft in Nigeria has been on for many years and specifically about 22 years ago but the dimension and rate it assumed in recent time, was unprecedented.

“As earlier stated as a result of the oil theft, Nigeria losses about 600, 000 barrels per day which is not healthy for the Nation’s economy and in particular, the legal operators in the field which had led to close down of some of their operational facilities.

Also Read: NNPC Recommends Stiffer Sanctions, Legal Framework to Combat Oil Theft

“But in rising up to the highly disturbing challenge, NNPC Ltd, has in recent time in collaboration with relevant security agencies, clamped down on the economic saboteurs.

“In the course of the clamp down within the last six weeks, 395 illegal refineries have been de – activated, 274 reservoirs destroyed, 1, 561 metal tanks destroyed, 49 trucks seized and the most striking of all, is the 4 kilometers illegal oil connection line from Forcados Terminal into the sea which had been in operation undetected for 9 solid years.”

The theft of crude oil is having a negative effect on the revenue of the federal government, thus denying the country the much-needed fund to boost economic development.

Apart from revenue loss, the issue of oil theft is currently threatening not just the NNPC’s quest for energy security for the country, it is also having a debilitating effect on Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings.

Also Read: NNPC, Major Partners Lose Over $1bn Revenue in One Month

NNPC revealed that in the first quarter of this year, Nigeria lost $1bn in revenue to crude oil theft and production shut-in caused by pipeline vandalism. With a daily loss of over 700,000 barrels of crude oil to theft, pipeline vandalism and production shut-ins, caused by tapping of crude oil from a maze of pipelines owned by oil majors, experts have said that it has become compelling for the government to adopt a holistic approach to address the crude oil revenue loss challenge.

At an average price of $100 per barrel crude oil price, it means that Nigeria is currently losing about $70m monthly to crude oil thieves and production shut-ins.
Nigeria relies on crude oil revenue for over 90 per cent of its foreign exchange earnings and about 70% of government revenue.

The high level of oil losses caused by crude theft had led to a drop in daily oil production from 1.8mil barrels per day in the last three years to just a little over one million bpd.
But Kyari explained further to the committee that in addressing the menace, the NNPC carried out aerial surveillance of the affected areas, and saw the economic saboteurs carrying out their activities unchallenged and unperturbed.

Also Read: Federal Agencies Kick, As NNPC Says It Is Ready For Forensic Audit

“The problem at hand is not only security but social as locals in most areas where the illegal refiners operate, unknowingly serve as their employees by mistaking them for operatives of licensed companies for oil exploration and production in the area,” he added.

He further added that being a problem requiring urgent solution, the Cambodia and Mexico models of involvement of non – state actors are being adopted by NNPC with involvement of three private security companies.

“Is not abnormal to involve non – State actors for protection of oil pipelines and other critical infrastructure as done in Cambodia and Mexico which produced desired results,” he said.
On non – remittances from NNPCL into the federation account since January, Kyari told the committee members that the company is not owing Nigeria but Nigeria owing it N1.3trn

Also Read: NNPC Adopt Digitals Systems To Monitor Production Losses

In his closing remarks, the Chairman of the joint committee, Mohammed Sabo Nakudu, told the NNPCL boss to get prepared for oversight functions on Port Harcourt and Warri Refineries claimed to have been rehabilitated.

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