EXCLUSIVE: Nigeria lost N4.3tn to oil theft in five years – FG

The Federal Government, on Monday, revealed that more than N4.3tn worth of crude oil was stolen in 7,143 pipeline vandalism cases within a period of five years.

It disclosed this at the Nigeria International Pipeline Technology and Security Conference in Abuja, with the theme, ‘Bolstering Regulations, Technology and Security for Growth.’ The conference was organised by the Pipeline Professionals Association of Nigeria.

In a presentation at the conference by the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, a Federal Government agency, the organisation revealed that oil theft and losses in Nigeria had become a national emergency.

The Executive Secretary, NEITI, Ogbonnaya Orji, said oil theft was an emergency that posed serious threat to oil exploration and exploitation with huge negative consequences on economic growth, business prospects and profit earnings by oil companies.

Providing data from the agency’s reports to back his claims, he said: “NEITI disclosed that in the last five years, 2017 to 2021, Nigeria recorded 7,143 cases of pipeline breakages and deliberate vandalism resulting in crude theft and product losses of 208.639 million barrels valued at $12.74m or N4.325tn.

“NEITI reports also disclosed that during the same period Nigeria spent N471.493bn to either repair or maintain pipelines.”

Orji pointed out that from NEITI’s 2021 Oil and Gas Industry Report released in September, the sector accounted for 72.26 per cent of Nigeria’s total export and government’s foreign exchange, 40.55 per cent of government revenue, and provided 19,171 jobs.

He stressed that it was also a matter of fact that many members of the pipelines association were directly and indirectly involved in providing the skills and knowledge required to perpetrate oil theft.

“As you are aware, illegal connections, pipeline clamping, etc, cannot be done by just anybody. And so, your association is largely complicit by failing to put in place stringent regulation and appropriate sanctions to check involvement of your members.

“For instance, NEITI has put in the public domain empirical data of oil theft and losses at 619.7 million barrels of crude, valued at $46.16bn or N16.25tn between 2009 and 2020.

“In addition, Nigeria lost 4.2 billion litres of petroleum products from refineries, valued at $1.84bn at the rate of 140,000 barrels per day, from 2009 to 2018.

He told participants at the conference that Nigeria’s economy cannot grow in an atmosphere of oil theft, pipeline vandalism, and general insecurity in the oil producing communities.


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