Theft of oil: the Senate does not charge anyone

The ad hoc committee set up by the Senate for a thorough investigation into the theft of oil and the resulting damage to the national economy has failed to indict any individual or group of individuals responsible for the economic sabotage.

But the committee, in its report considered and adopted by the Senate on Tuesday, said Nigeria lost $2 billion equivalent to 1.3 trillion naira from oil theft between January and August this year.

The Senate had, on April 14, 2022, constituted a 13-member ad hoc committee on the extraction, theft and impact of oil on oil production and oil revenues under the chairmanship of Senator Akpan Bassey who, it is said in by the way, is the chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum. (Upstream).

Although the committee’s report, adopted by the Senate in plenary on Tuesday, made far-reaching recommendations to stem the tide, it did not name a single person or corporation responsible for the oil theft.

In one of its findings, the committee said: “Nigeria lost more than $2 billion to oil theft between January and August 2022, with revenue loss that would have supported budget deficits and the execution of the country’s budget”.

The report says, however, that concerted efforts against the crime by all stakeholders have started to show results, with the Forcados terminal producing 500,000 barrels per day compared to zero production in the first six months of the year.

Bonny Terminals, according to the report, is also producing 87,000 barrels of oil per day currently, compared to zero production a few months ago due to the activities of economic saboteurs.

Some of the Committee’s 16-point recommendations, as adopted by the Senate, are that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) should stop undermining the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) and the Nigerian Petroleum Authority. Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulators (NMDPRA) fulfilling their duties.

That the provisions of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) shall be adhered to by the NNPCL with respect to the functions of the established agencies.

That there is a need for an immediate rationalization of the agencies present on the terminals according to the relevance of their PIA delimited by the upstream and intermediate/downstream statutory functions.

That NUPRC should expedite the upgrade of National Production Monitoring Systems (NPMS) to enable real-time monitoring of flow station and terminal activities.

That the NUPRC should expedite the deployment and strict enforcement of the Crude Oil Advance Cargo Declaration solution for the detection and mitigation of illegal vessel movements to ensure adequate revenue generation and optimal oil production raw.

That the Office of Public Procurement expedite all procurement processes for the NUPRC by ensuring the immediate deployment of a real-time online monitoring system by the commission on all oil and gas production platforms in upstream for the precision of the measurement of the volume of production by the producers.

That the NUPRC should resume full regulatory oversight of all existing crude oil terminals in Nigeria, including integrated ones, crude oil pipelines, issuance of permission to load and processing of export permit in accordance with the Section 8(d) of the PIA, as crude oil regulatory activities, terminals are interdependent and contingent.

That curbing crude oil theft should be a collective responsibility through the reporting of illegal activities and transactions to the proper authorities by well-meaning Nigerians.

The report also disapproved of the Minister of State’s undue interference in the operations of the NUPRC, as evidenced by letters made available to him by the agency, and stressed that the Minister and the NNPCL should allow PIA to operate. .

The report states: “The PIA, as promulgated by the President, must be allowed to operate by all stakeholders in the sector, as any amendment to it will send the wrong signals to the international community.