• Saturday, July 20, 2024
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FG urged to tackle menace of oil theft in Niger Delta

LG autonomy and renewed tough talk against crude oil theft

Federal Government of Nigeria has again been urged to increase efforts aimed at tackling the menace of oil theft in the Niger Delta.

The call by Nigeria’s oil producers comes on the heels of the menace impacting negatively on the operations of the indigenous producing companies.

The progresses recorded over the years in Nigeria’s upstream oil sector, according to the indigenous producing companies were gradually being eroded by oil theft.

The price of the international benchmark, Brent Crude, for a better part of 2021 and this year has been above $70 per barrel mark, jumping to 13-year high of $130 per barrel on Monday. Nigeria’s Bonny Light, a favourite of refineries and the country’s other blends are also selling within that range.

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Oil theft in the region aided by the rising prices of crude oil in the international market according to an affected company has made people to make petrodollars “on the high seas, while we are experiencing fall in production volumes.

“The thieves are cashing in on rocking prices and there is a noticeable presence of barges and vessels in the creeks loading stolen oil from pipelines and transporting to large vessels on the high seas,” the producer said.

“The key challenges now are in the areas of security and high operating costs. We look forward to the government in finding long-lasting and sustainable solutions to these challenges,” Abdulrasaq Isa, president, Independent Petroleum Producers Group, the umbrella group for indigenous oil producers had noted.

“The vessels and the illegal refineries are very conspicuous and visible to be noticed, yet these illegal operations have been going on without any significant challenge from Government or governmental institutions including security agencies,” another industry source said.

Federal Government had in September 2021 set up a committee on the recovery of crude oil and illegally refined petroleum products. The group comprised the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) formerly DPR, the Nigeria National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, the Nigerian Army and Navy, and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps.

Recognizing this as a good move, the oil producers who spoke over the weekend, called for immediate action by the committee to stem the crushing tide of crude oil theft.