Oil theft: Nigeria loses $2bn in eight months

The ad-hoc committee set up by the Senate to investigate oil theft and consequent damage on the nation’s economy said on Tuesday that Nigeria lost   $2 billion, equivalent to N1.3trillion, to oil theft between January and August this year.

The Senate on April 14, 2022, constituted a 13- member Ad – Hoc Committee on Oil Lifting, Theft, and the impact on Petroleum Production and Oil Revenues under the chairmanship of Senator Akpan Bassey, who is also the chairman, of the Senate Committee on Petroleum ( Upstream).

The committee’s report adopted by the Senate in plenary on Tuesday made far-reaching recommendations for stemming the tide but failed to name a single person or corporate entity carrying out the oil theft.

In one of its findings, the committee said, “Nigeria lost over $2bn to oil theft between January and August 2022, with consequent loss of revenue that would support the country’s fiscal deficits and budget implementation.”

The report indicated concerted efforts being made against the crime by all stakeholders, saying that they had started yielding results, with Forcados Terminal producing 500,000 barrels per day now as against zero production in the first six months of the year.

According to the report, “Bonny Terminals was also producing 87,000 barrels of oil per day now as against zero production a couple of months ago due to activities of economic saboteurs.”

Parts of the 16 – point recommendations of the committee as adopted by the Senate were that, “ the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited should stop undermining Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission and Nigerian Midstream and  Downstream  Petroleum Regulatory Authority from performing their functions.

“The provisions of the Petroleum Industry Act should be adhered to by NNPCL as regards functions of the established agencies.”

The report called for an immediate streamlining of agencies present at the terminals in line with the relevance of their PIA-delineated upstream and midstream/downstream statutory functions.

It said the NUPRC should fast-track the upgrade of the National Production Monitoring Systems to enable real-time monitoring of flow station and terminal activities.

The NUPRC should expedite the deployment and strict enforcement of the Advance Crude Oil Cargo Declaration solution for the detection and mitigation of illegal movement of vessels to ensure adequate revenue generation and optimal crude oil production, it further said.

The Bureau of Public Procurement should expedite all processes of procurement for NUPRC to ensure immediate deployment of an online real-time monitoring system by the commission across all upstream oil and gas production platforms for accuracy in measuring production volume by producers, it noted.

It further said that the NUPRC should resume full regulatory oversight of all existing crude oil terminals in Nigeria, including integrated ones, crude oil pipelines, issuance of loading clearance, and processing of export permits in line with section 8(d) of the PIA, as regulatory activities at crude oil terminals are interdependent and contingent, it said.

The report also frowned at undue interference of the Minister of State in the operations of NUPRC as shown with letters made available to it by the agency and stressed that both the minister and NNPCL should allow PIA to function.

The report added, “ The PIA as signed into law by the President, must be allowed to function by all stakeholders in the sector as an amendment on it now, will send wrong signals to the International community.”

Source: https://punchng.com/