How Nigeria lost $2bn to oil theft in eight months – Senate




            

President Muhammadu Buhari has said the administration attracted over $3 billion investment in the oil and gas sector at a time of near-zero appetite for investment in fossil energy. 

The president said this in Bauchi at the flag-off ceremony of the Kolmani Integrated Development Project, a fully integrated in-situ development project comprising upstream production, oil refining, power generation and fertilizer.

“Considering the land locked location and the huge capital requirement, the economics of the project is a challenging proposition. Consequently, from the outset, I instructed NNPC Limited to utilize and leverage their vast asset portfolio across all corridors of its operations to de-risk the project to attract the much-needed investment.

“It is therefore to the credit of this administration that at a time when there is near zero appetite for investment in fossil energy, coupled with the location challenges, we are able to attract investment of over USD 3 billion to this project,” he said.

While commending NNPCL and her partners for the successful discovery of Oil and Gas in the Kolmani River Field, the president stated that the huge investment the project had attracted “will surely be a reference subject for discussion in the industry as we pu)rsue the just energy transition programme that will culminate in our country achieving Net- Zero position by the year 2060.” 

Stressing the benefits the project brings to the country including “but not limited to Energy Security, Financial Security as well as overall socio- economic development of the country,” the president said the  directive to the NNPCL to explore other oil and gas fields beyond the Niger Delta Basins had finally yielded commendable results.

“This is indeed significant considering that, efforts to find commercial oil and gas outside the established Niger Delta Basin was attempted for many years without the desired outcomes. 

“However, the successful discovery of the Kolmani Oil and Gas field by NNPC and her partners has finally broken the jinx by the confirmation of huge commercial deposits of hydrocarbons in Kolmani River field. 

“This discovery had emanated from our charge to the NNPC to re-strategize and expand its oil and gas exploration footprints to the frontier basins of Anambra, Dahomey, Sokoto, Benue trough, Chad and Bida Basins. Similar activities across the other basins are currently actively on-going. 

“We are pleased with the current discovery of over 1 billion barrels of oil reserves and 500 billion Cubic Feet of Gas within the Kolmani area and the huge potentials for more deposits as we intensify exploration efforts,” he said.

President Buhari urged NNPCL and partners to work with all stakeholders for a smooth execution of the project.

“I have engaged the Governors of Bauchi and Gombe States, and both have given me assurances of their unwavering commitment and willingness to ensure support and cooperation in these localities as this activity affects the local populations. 

“I urge the NNPC Ltd, NNDC, and their Strategic partners to ensure all lessons learnt from our years of experience as an oil-producing nation are utilized to ensure harmonious relationship with the local communities,” he said.

In his remarks, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Mr Timipre Sylva, who recalled his relationship with the project, expressed his delight to be associated with the project as minister having worked with a former Minister of Petroleum Resources when NNDC won the oil prospect lease being flagged off Tuesday. 

Also speaking at the event, Group CEO of NNPCL Mele Kolo Kyari said the search for oil and gas in the frontier basins of Chad, Sokoto, Anambra Platform, Calabar Embarkment, Benue Trough, Dahomey, Bida and the Ultra Deepwater Niger Delta had spanned decades without significant outcomes.

“However, the singular determination of Mr President to ensure optimum exploration and exploitation of our natural resources and Your Excellency’s consequential directives for NNPC Limited to strategize and utilize available human, technological and other material resources to prosecute exploration activities in all Frontier Basins resulted in the discovery of commercial oil and gas deposits in the Kolmani Prospect in April 2019,” he said. 

Senate 

The Ad-hoc Committee set up by the Senate for thorough investigation on oil theft and consequent damage to the nation’s economy did not indict any individual or group of individuals responsible for the economic sabotage.

But the committee in its report considered and adopted by the Senate Tuesday, said Nigeria lost a whopping $2 billion equivalent to N1.3trillion to oil theft between January and August this year.

The Senate had April 14, 2022, constituted a 13 – member ad – hoc committee on oil lifting, theft and the impact on Petroleum Production and Oil Revenues under the chairmanship of Senator Akpan Bassey, who incidentally, is the Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum (Upstream).

Though the committee in report adopted by Senate in plenary Tuesday, made far reaching recommendations in stemming the tide but failed to name a single person or corporate entity carrying out the oil theft.

In one of its findings, the committee said: “Nigeria lost over $2billion to oil theft between January and August 2022, with consequent loss of revenue that would supported the country ‘ s fiscal deficits and budget implementation.”

 The report however indicated that concerted efforts being made against the crime by all stakeholders “have started yielding results with Forcados Terminal producing 500,000 barrels per day now as against 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 now as against zero production a couple of months ago due to activities of economic saboteurs. 

Parts of the 16 – point recommendations of the committee as adopted by the Senate are that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), should stop undermining Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission ( NUPRC) and Nigerian Midstream and  Downstream  Petroleum Regulatory Authority ( NMDPRA) from performing their functions .

That provisions of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), should be adhered to by NNPCL as regards functions of the established agencies.

That there is need for immediate streamlining of agencies present at the terminals in line with the relevance of their PIA delineated upstream and midstream / downstream statutory functions .

That NUPRC should fast track the upgrade of the National Production Monitoring Systems (NPMS) to enable Real Time Monitoring of Flow Station and Terminal activities ,

That NUPRC should expedite the deployment and strict enforcement of the Advance Crude Oil Cargo Declaration solution for detection and mitigation of illegal movement of vessels to ensure adequate revenue generation and optimal crude oil production on platforms for accuracy in measuring production volume by producers.

That NUPRC should resume full regulatory oversight of all existing crude oil terminals in Nigeria including integrated ones, crude oil pipelines , issuance of loading clearance and processing of export permit in line with section 8(d) of the PIA, as regulatory activities at crude oil terminals are interdependent and contingent.

That curtailing crude oil theft should be a collective responsibility through  report of illegal activities and transactions to appropriate authorities by well meaning Nigerians.

The report also frowned at undue interference of Minister of State in the operations of NUPRC as shown with letters made available to it by the agency and stressed that both the Minister and NNPCL should allow PIA to function.

 “The PIA as signed into law by the President must be allowed to function by all stakeholders in the sector as any amendment on it now, will send wrong signals to the International community,” the report further stated.

Bauchi gov lauds Buhari

In his remarks, Bauchi state Governor Bala Mohammed said: “For us in Bauchi State, this is an exciting moment. Despite the Kolmani River being the territorial demarcation of the borderline between Alkaleri Local Government Area of Bauchi state and Akko Local Government Area of Gombe state, there is no conflict or tension between us.

“The two states remain the same, Gombe was carved out of Bauchi. We are brothers and sisters in pain and prosperity. The discovery of oil in any of our communities will be for the benefit of us all. We, as a government, are already investing in this areas to create a sense of belonging, government presence, and reduce poverty and unemployment.

“Mr. President, sir, we will continue to support the efforts and policies of the Federal Government to protect lives and property, and promot e economic prosperity. Bauchi State is today among the top in the World Bank and Federal Government ranking on the Ease of Doing Business.  I want to thank Mr. President for graciously approving the award of contract for the construction of t h e road leading  to the project site. The contract was awarded some years back, but up to this moment work is yet to commence on it. Like the  Proverbial Oliver Twist, I wish to request Mr. President to kindly direct the commencement and completion of work on the dilapidated road without further delay. When completed, the road will assist in providing easy access for the investors, security, workers and the community.”

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