THE Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, Mele Kyari, has sought the support of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, the National Association of Road Transport Owners, and other stakeholders in the oil and gas sector to tackle crude oil theft in the Niger Delta region.
Kyari said this on Tuesday at the 5th quadrennial delegates’ conference in Asaba, Delta State.
The theme of the conference was, “Just Energy Transition: For oil and gas workers’ social welfare and security.”
The theft of crude oil has been having a negative effect on the revenue of the Federal Government and has been denying the country the much-needed fund to boost economic development.
Apart from revenue loss, the issue of oil theft is currently threatening not just 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 $3.2bn 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.
Speaking on the recent development, the NNPC GMD told participants at the NUPENG conference that the impact of pipeline vandalism had reduced the capacity of the country to meet its oil production quota.
He stated that currently, Nigeria was producing less than 1.5 million barrels per day of crude oil.
Kyari said as major stakeholders in the oil and gas business, the time had come for NUPENG and NARTO to collaborate with the NNPC in bringing the issue of crude oil theft to an end.
He said, “You can see the trouble that we have and what it has caused all of us. But more than these comrades, our local industry is terribly challenged and you may be aware, we have seen vandalism around our areas of operations, not just in the Niger Delta but across other corridors of product supply.
“Activities of oil thieves have got to a level that we haven’t seen before, almost bringing down this industry to its knees today.
“As we speak now, our production 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 becomes a challenge, no doubt about it.
He added, “That is why all of us must practically come together to see how we can contend with 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.