By Okechukwu Jombo
Startling disclosures were made on Wednesday at an Investigative hearing on Oil lifting, theft and its impact on petroleum production and oil revenues with the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources Upstream, Senator Bassey Albert (OBA) calling for a holistic approach and political will to end this national challenge.
Speaking at the investigative Hearing on the experience of the committee during its oversight visit to major platforms in the Niger Delta, Senator Albert expressed shock that the loss of national oil revenues due to oil theft and sabotage was horrendous.
Senator Albert stated that the committee discovered that pipelines carrying crude oil could not be identified because they were covered with bushes with no right of way making it difficult to monitor these pipelines.
He told the stakeholders that the shortfall in the country’s oil revenues were not due to oil theft alone but also caused by inability to have evacuation access, lack of effective metering and monitoring by operators as well as the unwillingness of security agencies to checkmate the incidents of oil theft close to where they are stationed.
Senator Albert expressed regret that Bonny Terminal, which hitherto produces 60,000 barrels per day (bpd) has not produced a single barrel for the past seven months.
Also speaking at the occasion, the Senate President, Senator Ahmad Lawan who declared the investigative hearing open said it was the view of the Senate that oil theft impacted negatively on the country’s oil production and revenues hence its decision to set up the committee to come up with a workable template to arrest the situation. Senator Lawan, who was represented at the occasion, also charged stakeholders to come up with a plan to end this national challenge.
A member of the committee, Senator Kabir Kaya (Kano South) noted that while Nigeria’s OPEC quota is 1.8 million bpd, the country currently produces 1,2 million bpd showing a shortfall of 600,000 bpd. He challenged the stakeholders and the operators to find a solution to this problem.
Various stakeholders including government agencies and oil majors also made their presentations at the investigative hearing. Presenting its position, the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) disclosed that shut-in wells, oil theft and evacuation issues and lack of effective metering were the issues affecting petroleum production and national revenues. He said the country has incurred a loss of over $2.1 billion (about N872 billion) as a result of oil theft and sabotage.