The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) has said that it had documented a total of 148 crude oil theft incidents occurring between September 2 and 8, 2023.
This information was shared through the company’s official Twitter account on Tuesday, September 12.
As reported by the NNPCL, within the mentioned timeframe, a series of incidents were identified, including the discovery of 78 illegal refineries, 14 AIS infractions involving vessels, 8 instances of illegal connections, 34 arrests related to wooden boats, 8 vehicle-related arrests, the detection of 4 oil spills, 1 vessel arrest, and 1 incident of pipeline vandalism.
Providing further details about the vessel arrest, the NNPCL report specified that the MV Ofuoma was apprehended by security agents at Abuloma Jetty in Rivers State.
The vessel was found to be transporting 57,000 litres of illegally refined diesel.
Of the total incidents documented, 14 occurred in the Deep Blue Sea, 48 in the Western region, 31 in the Central region, and 55 in the Eastern region within the oil-producing areas of the Niger Delta.
These incidents took place in various locations across different states, and here is a breakdown by state:
- Udu East
- Ughelli North
- Bayelsa State
- Oporomor IV
- Egorobiri Creek
- Iba community
The Persistent Challenge of Crude Oil Theft in Nigeria: Counting the Costs
Nigeria has grappled with the issue of crude oil theft for decades.
However, in recent times, this problem has become increasingly visible to the public eye, as both the government and institutions like the Nigerian Extractives Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) strive to quantify the financial losses that are impeding economic growth within the oil and gas sector.
Just days ago, Tajudeen Abbass, the Speaker of the House of Representatives in Nigeria, decried the fact that the country had suffered staggering losses of $46 billion (equivalent to N16.25 trillion) over the past 11 years due to crude oil theft.
Moreover, NEITI had previously highlighted that this menace was preventing Nigeria from meeting its oil production quota assigned by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
In response to the government’s determination to curb crude oil theft, a recent development emerged: the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) revealed plans to procure two aircraft specifically for combatting this issue within the country.
AVM Abdul Ganiyu, the Director of Operations for the Nigerian Air Force, shared this information while briefing the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee, which is tasked with investigating oil theft and revenue loss on behalf of the federal government.
He noted that pilot training for operating the available aircraft was already underway and set to be ready for deployment by the end of September 2023.
This initiative represents a significant step towards addressing the persistent problem of crude oil theft in Nigeria.