The Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, has disclosed that the National Security Adviser (NSA) will soon reveal the identities of highly placed Nigerians behind crude oil theft in Nigeria. The presidential spokesman told the press on August 19, 2022, that as part of the efforts to rid the country’s economy of sabotage, security operatives had raided locations where illegal oil bunkering had risen and succeeded. He further implied that some law enforcement agents might be engaging in the illegal act. He added that new measures were being taken to stop it.
Shehu also said that it is embarrassing for the country not to meet up with the quota given to it by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). He said, “Oil theft is being tackled. The big problem we have in this country is that we ought to see more commitment from communities in assisting law enforcement agents. In some cases, where some law enforcement officers are complicit, it becomes bad. We used to fight the OPEC for more quotas; now, they’ve given us and we aren’t able to meet up. This is embarrassing. Security agencies are fully involved in stopping this act. I’m hopeful that in the next few days, the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) will be presenting to the country big men who are promoters of this kind of business as they’re being caught and illegal refineries are being bombed out.”
President Buhari charges security agencies to immediately stop oil theft.
President Muhammadu Buhari had directed security agencies to immediately put a stop to the theft of the country’s crude oil by criminals and vandals in the Niger Delta region. “We will not allow a few criminals to have unfettered access to the nation’s crude oil supply, hence I have directed our security agencies to speedily bring to a halt the activities of these vandals in the Niger Delta,” Buhari had said in a statement. There should be no hiding place for such criminals, and our cooperation with neighboring countries in halting these crimes as being strengthened and tightened.
Meanwhile, Shell Nigeria had said that crude oil theft is an existential threat to the country’s oil industry. Osagie Okunbor, Managing Director and Country Chair for Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited and Shell Companies in Nigeria, said this at an energy conference. He said that this has resulted in the shutdown of two of its major pipelines. He said that oil theft was one of the reasons that Nigeria could not meet its OPEC quota of 1.8 million barrels a day.
Nigeria lost $1 billion in revenue to crude oil theft in Q1 2022.
In July 2022, Gbenga Komolafe, the head of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), had disclosed in a statement that Nigeria lost a staggering $1 billion in revenue in the first quarter of 2022. Komolafe had warned that the development was a threat to the country’s economy. Nigeria loses millions of barrels of crude oil a year because of theft and vandalism, including the tapping of crude from a maze of pipelines owned by oil majors.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) had said that of the 141 million barrels of oil produced in the first quarter of 2022, only about 132 million barrels of oil were received at export terminals. “This indicates that over nine million barrels of oil were lost to crude oil theft … this amounts to a loss in government revenue of about $1 billion … in just one quarter,” he had said in a statement. Crude oil theft has increased to a daily average of 108,000 barrels in the first quarter of 2022 from 103,000 barrels in 2021, the NUPRC boss had noted.
CBN says massive oil thefts threatening foreign reserves.
Earlier in 2022, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had decried the negative impact of the increasing oil thefts on the economy. Particularly, it had said the situation was affecting the growth of the country’s foreign exchange reserves and government revenue. Speaking on the impact of oil on the economy, the governor of CBN, Godwin Emefiele, had said before the Russian-Ukrainian war, the MPC was optimistic that the moderate decline in inflation was sustainable due to the positive impact of good harvest on price levels. He had, however, said the MPC was worried that the rising global oil prices had been compounded by the shortage of supply of petroleum products.