OrderPaperToday – The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has revealed that crude oil and refined product worth $41.9 billion were stolen from Nigeria in the last ten years.

The revelation is contained in a Policy Brief titled “Stemming the Increasing Cost of Oil Theft to Nigeria” released yesterday in Abuja.

The Policy Brief contains graphic information and data on the cost of oil theft to the country as well as other far-reaching recommendations in the areas of security overhaul, country engagements, diplomatic approach, stopping markets for stolen crude and refined products, measurement infrastructure as well as strengthening sanctions and enforcement mechanisms.

Analysis of the report showed that the nation lost $38.5 billion on crude theft alone, $1.56 billion on domestic crude and another $1.8 billion on refined petroleum products between 2009 and 2018.

The agency additionally disclosed that Nigeria losses an average of $11 million daily, which translates to $349 million in a month and about $4.2 Billion annually to crude and product losses arising from stealing, process lapses and pipeline vandalism.

NEITI therefore called on the government to deploy oil fingerprinting technology, comprehensive metering infrastructure of all facilities, and other creative strategies to curb the theft of Nigeria’s crude oil and refined petroleum products which will boost revenues.

“While figures from government put the loss at between 150,000-250,000 bpd (barrels per day), data from private studies estimate the figure to be between 200,000-400,000 bpd. This implies that Nigeria may be losing up to a fifth of its daily crude oil production to oil thieves and pipeline vandals.

“Stemming this haemorrhage and leakages should be an urgent priority for Nigeria at a time of dwindling revenues and increasing needs”, the report stated.

It further stated that what the country lost in 20 months in fiscal terms is “enough to finance the proposed budget deficit for 2020; in 15 months to cover total proposed borrowing or increase capital budget by 100% and in five months to cover pensions, gratuities and retirees’ benefits for 2020”.

NEITI added, “In terms of volume, 138.000 barrels of crude oil was lost every day for the past 10 years, representing 7% of average production of two million bpd. Nigeria lost more than five hundred and five million barrels of crude oil and 4.2 billion litres of petroleum products between 2009-2018. What is stolen, spilled or shut-in represents lost revenue, which ultimately translates to services that government cannot provide for citizens already in dire need of critical public goods”.

The report further identified other effects of oil theft to include pipeline vandalism, criminal sabotage and illegal refineries which threaten the safety of the environment.

On the environment, the policy brief mentioned that the impact and implication of oil spills is monumental in terms of degradation of the environment and negative effects on the livelihoods of host communities.

Furthermore, the report remarked that “the volume of losses does not particularly reflect the rate of pipeline breaks for the corresponding years, suggesting either that the criminals are becoming more efficient, or crude theft is occurring increasingly elsewhere,” adding that “this may require further probing”.

In addition, the Policy Brief recommended that government should reconstitute a special security task team for Nigeria’s oil and gas assets with a specific mandate to minimise crude theft and vandalism.

“This task team should include the oil companies and technical expertise in relevant fields. Command and control responsibility should be manned by professional intelligence personnel. The key mode of operation should be based on seamless communication to improve response time. The command and control should have direct real time access to information produced by the leak detection and localisation systems installed and operated by the oil companies,” NEITI concluded.

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Damilola Zebulun Adeniran
Damilola is a multiple award-winning Writer, Researcher, and Community/Sustainable Development Practitioner. His interests and experience span across media, academics, human capital development, and strategic planning. Damilola is a Paradigm Initiative Digital Rights and Inclusion Media Fellow. He is the first Nigerian in history to win the blog4dev writing contest organised by the World Bank Group. Also, Damilola's written work on violent extremism and sustainable peace in Nigeria won a PeaceWriteNow prize, presented by the Embassy of Ireland in June, 2018. His works have been published in Nigeria and the United States of America, in English and in French. Damilola has also attended important meetings within and outside the African continent including the 2019 Spring Meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in Washington D.C, USA and the West Africa Coastal Areas Management Program (WACA) Marketplace in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. He was also a special guest on a panel discussion titled “How creative industry can help to stem fragility,” which was held at the headquarters of the World Bank in Washington, D.C, USA. Furthermore, Damilola was selected as a Champion of Advocacy against extreme poverty and preventable diseases by ONE Campaign in May, 2019. An alumnus of the prestigious Lagos Business School and Federal University of Technology Akure, Damilola Adeniran represents Nigeria in the Youth Transforming Africa Program.


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