The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) has said that a total of 144 crude oil theft incidents were recorded between August 4 and 11.
The company stated this during its weekly series; “Energy and You” airing on the NTA News Network.
As per the company’s report, a total of 53 illegal refineries were exposed, along with the discovery of 35 instances of illegal connections, 11 instances of AIS infractions involving vessels, and 8 cases of pipeline vandalism. Additionally, 34 wooden boats were identified, and 3 incidents of oil spills were detected.
These findings were spread across the states of Bayelsa, Imo, Delta, and Rivers.
Among these cases, 11 were in the deep blue waters, while 9 were situated in the Western region of the Niger Delta.
The central region of the Niger Delta saw the highest number, with 87 instances, and the Eastern region recorded 37 cases within its oil-producing areas.
The miscreant context
Stakeholders have maintained that those who perpetrate crude oil theft are part of the upper class in society because they have the funds to fund the illegal crude trade.
However, they need to recruit the poor to do the dirty work of lifting stolen crude or securing materials used in the illegal trade.
A recent Vanguard report highlighted this with the arrest of a certain Paul Obriku, in Rivers State, Port Harcourt. He confessed that he was paid N50,000 to secure vessels used by oil thieves to store stolen crude oil.
After his arrest, he said:
- “There are people that are above me that authorize them to bring the products here. Sometimes I will be inside, and they will be operating. I am being paid N50,000 a month and I do not know it is an illegal vessel.
- “I am only here to secure the boats. The people do bring products morning, afternoon and night. There are two directors whose names are Solo and Jasper. There are other people that are working here, but they are not always here.”
What you should know
Note that the NEITI policy brief on crude oil theft and data pulled from NEITI industry reports of the oil and gas sector showed that between 2009 and 2020 (a 12-year period), Nigeria lost 619.7 million barrels of crude oil valued at $46.16 billion or N16.25 trillion.
The volume of crude oil losses represents a loss of more than 140 thousand barrels per day.