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Everyone involved in oil theft, says NNPCL

The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL), Mele Kyari, has said everyone is involved in crude oil theft in Nigeria.…

The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL), Mele Kyari, has said everyone is involved in crude oil theft in Nigeria.

Kyari also said the company recorded 9000 infractions on its pipelines within one year.

He said this on Wednesday when the House of Representatives Special Committee on Oil Theft went on an oversight function at the headquarters of the NNPCL in Abuja.

According to him, from 2022 to date, the company has deactivated 6,465 illegal refineries.

“We have also removed 4,876 illegal connections to a pipeline out of 5,570 that we have discovered”, he said.

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He added that the NNPCL was not sure if that was the actual number.

He said, “Some of the scale of the infraction that we see is unbelievable; we are not able to deal with it. When you remove one connection, the next day in the same location, someone will replace it.

“It is obvious that crude oil theft is almost an end-to-end issue in Nigeria; it is very obvious that everyone is involved.

“In most of these locations, they are less than a hundred meters from the settlement; some are even less than a hundred meters from the local government headquarters.”

Kyari said that notwithstanding the distance, “these evils are being perpetrated unabated, adding that this makes it impossible to guarantee the production that would happen the next day.”

He added that the key issue had been security, adding that the NNPCL moved to curtail the menace of pipeline vandals by incorporating all security agencies into a single platform, including private security.

He said, “It is very obvious that despite all the integrity issues with our pipeline and our facilities, we have capacity beyond 2 million barrels per day without doing anything.

“But today, we are struggling to meet the budget estimate of 1.6 million barrels per day. This by no means is related to crude oil theft.

“In 2022, it became so obvious that if something dramatic is not done, we are going to run into trouble. On a specific date, our production came down to as low as 1.1 million barrels per day. And on a particular date, we have gone below a million barrels.”

Speaking, the Chairman of the Special Committee, Rep. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, said it was common knowledge that operating oil and gas pipelines in Nigeria was a herculean challenge.

He said hardly a week went by without an infraction or damage to an oil or gas pipeline in the country.

According to him, it is also saddening that these infractions do not stop with the pipelines as daily breaches are also recorded at the oil well heads, flow stations, loading, and export terminals, among others.

He said the opacity of regulatory activities at Nigeria’s crude oil export terminals was alarming.

He said, “We are compiling the facts and figures. Instances where approvals are hastily granted to vessels involved in crude theft just to cover official complicity are reported.

“Incidences of undeclared liftings are noted, and all these and several other infractions, particularly in our offshore marine environment, contribute to the huge volume of crude oil theft being reported.”

According to him, it is indisputable that Nigeria has been bedeviled by crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism of enormous proportions, most of which he said occurred within the Niger Delta region.

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