The Nigerian Senate has said that Nigeria lost $2 billion, or N1.3 trillion, to oil theft between January and August this year.

This is contained in the report submitted by the Senate ad-hoc committee set up to conduct investigation on oil theft and consequent damage to the nation’s economy.

Large-scale theft from Nigeria’s pipelines has throttled exports, forced some companies to shut in production, crippled the country’s finances and knocked the country off its position as Africa’s top oil producer for many years running.

The summation of the ad hoc committee findings include that at the moment, only about 66% of Nigeria’s oil production could be “effectively guaranteed”. The other 33%, it said, has been consumed by theft and lost production “due to the third party easy access on land terrain”.

“The country has lost over $2 Billion to oil theft between January and August 2022, which lost revenue ordinarily would have supported the country, fiscal deficits and budget implementation,” the committee report said.

The Senate committee on upstream petroleum threw their weight behind the contract awarded to Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited (TSSNL), a company linked to former militant leader. Government Tompolo, in September.

Defending the award of surveillance contract chairman of the senate committee, Senator Albert Bassey Akpan said there was nothing wrong with engaging non-state actors to secure oil pipelines in as much as the contract was yielding desired results.

While briefing reporters shortly after presenting the report of the Senate ad hoc committee last Tuesday, Senator Akpan said it feels good to look forward to the impact of the surveillance activities on petroleum production and oil revenues.

“There are both formal and informal approaches to solving the issue. If that contract was contracted duly and processed, we don’t have any issue with it and if it yields desired outcomes, I don’t think there is anything wrong with it

“We commend the NNPCL for the action. As we speak, the Forcado terminals have restored 500,000 barrels a day to our national production.

“Just about five days ago, the first 87,000 barrels a day were received at the Bonny terminals. So, things are getting better.

“This means that the abridged intervention done recently by the government has yielded positive results because the production would have been shortened, and you could imagine the effect on investment because investors will hold back if they cannot derive maximum profits from their investments.

“The government has not attracted the desired investment in the oil and gas industry despite the PIA because what is being produced is being stolen,” the committee said

 “Nigeria should seek international financial collaboration to check illegal Letters of Credit used to fund the sale and purchase of Nigerian stolen crude, as such illegal crude sales can only be transacted through the world financial system.”

The committee also urged the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission to deploy an online real-time monitoring system across all upstream oil and gas production platforms to ensure an accurate measure of production volume.

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