Nigeria in calamitous situation over oil theft, vandalism- NNPCL

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By Joy Odor

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), Mela Kyari declared Tuesday that Nigeria is in calamitous situation over oil theft , pipeline vandalism with attendant low production.

Kyari who stated this before the Senate’s joint committees on Petroleum (Downstream), Petroleum (Upstream) and Gas , concurred with recommendation made by Senator Albert Bassey Akpan (PDP Akwa Ibom North East), 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.

“But in rising up to the highly disturbing challenge, NNPCL, 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 kilometeres illegal oil connection line from Forcados Terminal into the sea which had been in operation undetected for 9 solid years”, he said.

He explained further to the committee that in addressing the menace, NNPCL carried out aerial surveillance of the affected areas, and saw the economic saboteurs carrying out their activities unchallenged and unperturbed.

“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 is being adopted by NNPCL 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 N1.3trillion.

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

Virtually all members of the three committees , attended the interactive session which lasted for about four hours.

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