BusinessDay
NigeriaDecides2023

Nigerian Navy to inspect offshore oil loading to curb theft

The Nigerian Navy plans to be present at the offshore oil loading terminals to inspect the meter reading at the point of crude oil loading to tankers at sea to curb oil theft, a process that stopped in the late 1980s.

This was disclosed on Monday in a statement signed by Adedotun Ayo-Vaughan, a commodore and director of information at the Nigerian Navy.

He said the first set of naval personnel to commence the task was sponsored by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) and trained in the United Arab Emirates and Uyo, Akwa-Ibom State.

“There is thus a harmonious working relationship between the Navy and NNPCL,” he said.

The statement said the Awwal Zubairu Gambo-led Navy has been and will continue to work with NNPC to fashion solutions to the challenges in Nigeria’s maritime environment concerning the oil industry for the overall good of Nigeria.

Citing what its representative said at an interactive hearing organised by the Senate Committee on Economic and Financial Crimes last week, the Nigerian Navy highlighted the criminal activity onshore by the illegal local refiners who tap into the export lines, many of which have not been in operation since early this year, resulting in opportunity lost.

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It said: “Also, the major terminals have not been able to process crude for export since around February/March, and this inability to process as export is reported as stolen oil since it is practically impossible to steal and move 100,000 barrels per day out of the creeks.

“The Navy representative at the Senate hearing said that the Navy is not indicting the NNPC in any way and has been working with the national oil giant to curb the menace of crude oil theft since 1 April 2022.

“This was when Operation DAKATAR DA BARAWO was launched in Onne, Rivers State as a mutual effort and synergy between the Navy and NNPC to address issues of crude oil theft, rampant illegal artisan refineries and illegal oil bunkering amongst other criminalities in the creeks.”

According to the statement, at the strategic level, almost daily and regular consultations, engagements, and meetings are held between the Navy and NNPC to review the situation, appraise the approach to curb the menace, and proffer ways forward.

It said to attempt to imply otherwise would be a gross misrepresentation of the cordial and mutual working relationship between the two organisations.