The House of Representatives made a decision yesterday to launch an investigation into the theft of crude oil amounting to $4 billion. The objective is to prevent economic losses to the country and ensure that all individuals involved are held accountable.
This resolution by the House was prompted by the approval of a motion titled “Need to Probe Crude Oil Theft and Revenue Loss from the Oil and Gas Sector in Nigeria,” which was presented by Philip Agbese.
Agbese highlighted that the media has recently been reporting extensively on the substantial loss of trillions of naira due to crude oil theft and revenue loss from oil and gas exploration in Nigeria.
He mentioned that reports indicate Nigeria incurred a loss of $4 billion in 2021 alone as a result of oil theft, equating to approximately 200,000 barrels per day. Furthermore, he noted that these figures have since increased.
Agbese pointed out that security agencies are allegedly complicit and primarily responsible for facilitating a significant portion of oil theft in the Niger Delta region.
He emphasized that the military has frequently been accused of being responsible for 99 percent of oil theft and questioned why the federal government has not taken action to address this misconduct.
He said: “According to reports, about 40 per cent of crude oil loss is due to inaccuracies in measurement, and theft as metering errors continue to occur as a result of poor maintenance of metering facilities, thus resulting in lack of transparency in hydrocarbon accounting.”
“A 2022 report by the Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative, NEITI, revealed that about 619.7 million barrels of crude oil, valued at $46.1 6billion have been stolen in the last 12 years, while stakeholders have often described crude oil theft in the country as an organized crime perpetrated by the elite.
“In spite of the huge funds appropriated to adequately equip Nigeria’s security and intelligence agencies, their performance in terms of curbing oil theft has been abysmal.
”Despite the enormous resources at the disposal of the NNPC Ltd and the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, NUPRC, they have, in active connivance with national and multinational oil and gas companies, allegedly continued to sabotage every effort to ensure an effective running of metering facilities at the well heads, flow stations, loading platforms.
“If crude oil theft is allowed to go on unhindered, it will result in, not only devastating consequences to the country’s economy, but will also gravely impact the environment, health and social life of the host communities,” he said.