The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd, is seeking partnership with the National Association of Petroleum and Engineering Gas Workers (NUPENG), the National Association of Road Transport Owners and other stakeholders in the oil and gas sector in the fight against oil theft.

The proposal was tabled by the NNPC group managing director, Mele Kyari at the just concluded 5th quadrennial delegates conference held in Asaba, Delta state.

The conference with theme, “Just Energy Transition: For oil and gas workers social welfare and security,” was attended by the minister of labour and employment Dr. Chris Ngige, who was represented by the president of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba; the governor of Delta state who was represented by his deputy, Phillip Shuaibu.

Also at the conference was the NNPC group executive director (upstream), Engr. Adokiye Tombomieye and other senior government officials.

Kyari said in recent time, crude oil theft has become devastating to the fortunes of the country. He said that the impact of pipeline vandalism had reduced the capacity of the country to meet its production quota.

He lamented that currently, Nigeria was producing less than 1.5 million barrels per day of crude oil.

Tabling the proposal, Kyari said as major stakeholders in the oil and gas business, time had come for NUPENG and NARTO to collaborate with the NNPC in bringing the issue of crude oil theft to an end in Nigeria.

“You can see the short trouble that we have and what it has caused all of us. But more than this comrades, our locally industries is terribly challenged and you may be aware, we have seen vandal activities around our areas of operations not just in the Niger Delta but across other corridors of product supply.

“Activities of oil thieves have gotten to a limit that we haven’t seen before, almost bringing down this industry to its knees today. As we speak now, our production total is less than 1.5 million barrels per day.

“This no doubt will affect the investing companies, they will not have the resources to continue to invest and therefore making more and more sustainable employment to become a challenge, no doubt about it.

“That is why all of us must practically come together to see how we can contend it. There is so much going on now. We are leading a process to ensure that we intervene in the security matter.

“We want to ensure that everybody is involved so that ultimately we are able to get back this industry or otherwise this industry will collapse in our hands and if it does, we will not be talking about employment and this is the reality we are facing today.

“You are very critical in stopping some of the situations today because when people steal products and they convert them to diesel, they will use your trucks to bring them into the country.

“And you can play a very prominent role to stop some of these transactions going on and I really implore all of us to come on the desk so that this industry can survive.

“We are partners and workers in the industry and NNPC is here to protect and preserve every institution that is helping this industry to grow and survive,” the NNPC boss stated.

He informed further that the issue of oil theft is currently threatening not only the NNPC’s quest for energy security for the country, it is also having a debilitating effect on Nigeria’s revenue earnings.

A Report released last month during a meeting on crude oil theft between the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission and Oil Producers Trade Section, as well as the Independent Petroleum Producers Group, showed that between January 2021 and February 2022, Nigeria lost a whopping sum of $3.2billion or N1.36trillion to crude oil theft.

The Report revealed that oil theft rose significantly between 2021 and 2022, with over 90 per cent of total crude produced at the Bonny Terminal stolen in January 2022.

On the issue of energy transition, the GMD said the concept does not mean that oil would disappear by 2050. He explained that the concept means that countries should start embracing cleaner source of energy that are more friendly to the environment.

He stated that the NNPC was also championing this initiative by shifting more attention to gas production which is a cleaner source of energy than fossil fuel. “No doubt energy transition is going on and for emphasis the meaning is that oil is not going to vanish by year 2050 or 2060. What it means is that oil will still be relevant; there will still be 100 million barrels of oil demand by year 2050.

“It is the use and the cleanliness utilization of it that will change and the activities that businesses do to ensure that the next event of our activities will become positive in such a way that you have a net zero situation

“The world has accepted gas as a transition fuel. That you do need to have more gas development so that you can gradually transit.

“So, Oil and gas business is not going to vanish. It will change in form and in utility. In our case in Nigeria as we all know, we are energy deficient and access to clean power is still very low as we all know. Then this is the first step that we have to take to ensure that we arrive at that clean transition,” Kyari said.

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