Abuja — Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Dr Emmanuel Kachikwu has disclosed that oil theft would be eradicated in the next eight months as the corporation has put in place measures to check the menace and bring perpetrators to book.
Speaking at a one-day seminar on Security in the Gulf of Guinea, organised by the Gusau Institute in Abuja, Dr Kachikwu said the fight to stop oil theft was not only for the NNPC but also all Nigerians, as the effect of crude oil theft was on all Nigerians.
According to the NNPC boss, some of these measures include the introduction of drones to monitor the pipelines as well as patrol the country’s coastal waters; equipping and increasing the capabilities of the security services to carry out their responsibilities and the engagement of communities to police pipelines in their areas.
While promising to introduce transparency in running the NNPC, Dr Kachikwu revealed that the PPMC would be broken up into several companies with one solely in charge of pipelines while another would be in charge of products at the depots
He said: “The job of keeping our country afloat and making sure that the revenues from oil are transparently received and spent is the main purpose of my work. When I was first asked by the President to come and take over this job, my first reaction was trepidation and fear, largely because over the last two decades, we have gone topsy-turvy with our oil industry. We, as a country, have lost so much both in terms of revenue and international perception. I carry a responsibility that is not just making sure that the oil industry generates so much revenue, but also a responsibility of bringing back high level of transparency in terms of perception. What is happening is that a few people do bad things but it rubs off on Nigeria. Many Nigerians are doing the right thing.
“Nigeria is the eighth largest producer of oil in the world but you probably would not see that as you traverse our country because a large volume of oil produced lands in the pockets of very few people and many of us remain extremely poor. That is because over the years, we have been unable to transparently deal with our oil.
“Oil theft is a major issue for us. We lose on average of about 50,000 barrels of oil. We lose about $3-$4 billion of revenue and that is just in terms of crude oil itself. When you get to pipelines, most of our pipelines are ruptured and attacked fairly frequently. Last year alone, between June 2014 and June 2015, we recorded between 3,400 to 4,000 attacks on the various pipelines in the country. The effect is a shut-in of about 250,000 barrels a day and when you calculate that, you have a net loss of over $7 billion.
8 months deadline
“A lot is happening. More challenges are going to be there but we are going to be able to solve the problems. We have given ourselves eight months within which we will hopefully completely eradicate the issue of oil theft in Nigeria. It is a focus that is very firm, very determined and in the process, you are going to find individuals who constitute some of the highest level of personnel in this economy. Oil theft is not just about the poor in the society. It is about the very rich and it takes a rich man to be able to get the market for the crude and enter into the carriage contract. It is the rich in the country that are actually the problem of NNPC and not the poor. We will address that very solidly, and we will achieve result for Nigeria. If we don’t do that we would have lost the essence of our appointment into this position. Working with security agencies, and using lots of technology we will ensure that this business stops. It is critical that the Nigerian face is not seen as a face of theft but a face of decency.”
He noted that because of the constant vandalism of the country’s pipelines, the refineries may not be able to function effectively except the issue of pipeline vandalism was resolved, adding that in order to check the menace, the security architecture around the pipelines was being re-engineered.
“The pipelines that traverse our country which are supposed to carry crude into our refineries are perpetually harassed and the net effect is that we resorted to using marines to carry cargoes into our refineries. What it meant is that no matter what you do with our refineries today, unless that is solved, we cannot operate the refineries. Every month, I sit and try to decide whether I should move crude to the refineries or sell the crude and be able to fund the other accounts. The marine services are too expensive for me.