The Federal Government yesterday raised the alarm that the country is on the brink of an economic disaster following indiscriminate oil theft, pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta areas, with attendant low oil production.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), Mele Kyari, raised the alarm when he appeared before the Senate’s joint committees on Petroleum (Downstream), Petroleum (Upstream) and Gas.
Answering questions on the state of the upstream and downstream sectors of the oil sector, Kyari also revealed that contrary to speculations, Nigeria was indebted to the NNPCL to the tune of N1.3 trillion.
He also supported the recommendations made by a member, Senator Albert Bassey Akpan, on the need to enforce capital punishment for oil-theft offenders, as he recalled that oil theft crimes in the country have been on for over 22 years, but said the dimension has assumed unprecedented rate in recent time.
“As earlier stated, as a result of the oil theft, Nigeria losses 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 closure of some of their operational facilities.
“But in rising up to the highly disturbing challenge, NNPCL has in recent time, in collaboration with relevant security agencies, clamped-down on the economic saboteurs.
“In the course of the clamp-down within the last six weeks, 395 illegal refineries have been de-activated, 274 reservoirs destroyed, 1,561 metal tanks destroyed, with 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 nine solid years“, he said.