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Nigeria ‘in serious trouble’ of oil theft, pipeline vandalism – NNPC

CEO of NNPCL, Mele Kyari

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), Mele Kyari has described as disastrous the situation of oil theft and pipeline vandalism experienced in the oil sector.

Mr Kyari stated this when he appeared before the Senate’s joint committees on Petroleum (Downstream), Petroleum (Upstream) and Gas.

According to him, the crime of oil theft in Nigeria has been on for many years but the dimension and rate it assumed in recent times was unprecedented.

He said as a result of the oil theft, Nigeria loses 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 the shutting down of some of their operational facilities.

Mr Kyari said NNPCL, in collaboration with relevant security agencies, clamped down on the economic saboteurs, which resulted in very drastic measures by the Corporation.

“these,” he said, “include the deactivation of 395 illegal refineries, 274 reservoirs destroyed, 1, 561 metal tanks destroyed, 49 trucks seized and the most striking of all, is the 4 kilometres illegal oil connection line from Forcados Terminal into the sea which had been in operation undetected for 9 solid year’s.”

The NNPCL boss also told the committee that in addressing the menace , the Corporation carried out aerial survelance of the affected areas, and saw the economic saboteurs conducting 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 complained.

He added that being a problem requiring urgent solutions, the Cambodia and Mexico models of involvement of non-state actors are being adopted by NNPCL, with the involvement of three private security companies.

In his remarks, the Chairman of the joint committee, Senator Mohammed Sabo Nakudu, representing Jigawa South West, told the NNPCL CEO that the joint committee would visit the Port Harcourt and Warri Refineries, which it claimed to have been rehabilitated.

Reporting by Amaka Ene; Editing by Abdullahi Lamino and Tony Okerafor