Meanwhile, the NNPC has cried out that it does not have any solution to the menace of crude oil theft in the country.
The Group Managing Director, Malam Mele Kyari, disclosed this yesterday at the public investigative hearing of the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee on crude oil theft.
Kyari, who was represented by the Chief Operating Officer (COO), Mr. Roland Ewubare, said in a country that is struggling to raise money to finance its developmental aspiration, every single barrel of oil lost is critical irrespective of the current flop in price.
According to Kyari, “Nobody has the monopoly of wisdom and I certainly don’t know what the solutions are to this problem. I’m a soldier’s son, so I have the utmost respect for the military, but I’m sure that even the military itself doesn’t have a silver bullet solution to the problem because it is a very complex problem arising from different roots.”
He said the NNPC believed that the core of the problem anchors on two elements; while one is criminality, the other emanates from the historical neglect of the communities in Niger Delta from where resources are produced.
Kyari said: “What are the consequences of these illegal activities from the numbers you mentioned? You (Akpatason) said it is 200,000 barrels per day, while the House Speaker said it is 400,000bpd. The truth is that we really don’t have the exact figure. It is a complex process to track what is lost, as some are lost through the aged and ageing facilities. Some pipelines are old, they can’t handle pressure, so you get spilt product, while some of it is deliberate.”
Kyari equally lamented that there was a threat to national security as a result of vandalisation, adding that crude oil thieves use the proceeds of theft to finance nefarious activities in the country as well as stockpiling weapon in order to remain in business.
On his part, the Commander of Operation Delta Safe, Rear Admiral Akinjide Akinrinade, said in 2017, the military destroyed about 1,001 illegal refineries, recovered 54, 373 tons of stolen products, while in 2018, it destroyed 1,524 illegal refineries, recovered 155,974 tonnes of stolen products. In 2019, the military also destroyed 1,694 illegal refineries, while 52 ships, 42 barges and 122,056 tons of stolen products were also recovered.
He added that about 255 suspected oil thieves were also arrested and handed over to the appropriate security agencies.
Akinrinade noted that in 2019 alone, the military was able to stop about 413 infractions along the pipeline, which amount to about 76 per cent of the total infractions along the pipeline operated by Shell.