Mele Kyari, Group Chief Executive Officer(GCEO), NNPC, has confirmed that no oil theft, facility sabotage, and illegal oil bunkering in the Niger Delta region can happen, without the active involvement and collaboration of government officials and security operatives.
He made this known while speaking on the topic “Energy Transition: Positioning the Nigeria Energy Industry for the Future” at the Day-2 of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) Energy & Labour Summit in Abuja, on Tuesday.
According to him, many of the cases of oil thefts that have been reported, including some of the illegal connections discovered on the export pipelines, could not have been successful without the involvement of government officials.
The NNPC GCEO urged the public to report anyone suspected to be involved in crude oil theft or bunkering to the Corporation, insisting that such a person is an enemy of the country.
He said, “Please report them to us. This is clearly an area that requires all of us, so whosoever including NNPC staff, officials of the regulatory agencies, or security agencies involved in crude oil theft, will be treated as the enemy of the state. It is our duty to do this.
“The activities of vandals on our pipelines and some of the key assets which have advanced into crude oil theft have gotten to a point that has to be addressed by all of us.
“In the last few days, monumental progress has been achieved including the discovery of many illegal connections on export pipelines and the arrest of stolen crude oil-laden vessels.
“I can tell you that in the next couple of days, all our pipelines will be operational at optimal flow rate. This will no doubt provide the resources that we require to go back to work.
“It will help us to re-invest into the industry, and also provide the resources for our country to develop other key infrastructures that can be executed and delivered,” the NNPC GCEO noted.
Kyari further noted that all service and operating companies must be ready to work with the government and security agencies to arrest the situation. According to him, “if we don’t do this now, we will have no industry.”
Dr. Brown Ogbeifuna, former President of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), who also spoke at the summit said, oil theft is a national hemorrhage that is likely to completely collapse Nigeria’s economy.
He noted that the Nigeria Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) has lost about N1.5 trillion from the vandalization of its assets by oil thieves.
According to him, large-scale oil theft has not robbed the government of handsome revenue, but crippled the job creation opportunities for Nigerians, while also violating the oil-producing communities.
Ogbeifun said Nigeria might not come out of the oil theft trap, adding that between 2021 and 2022, Nigeria lost the sum of $1.2 billion to oil theft.