The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) on Wednesday welcomed the decision of the Federal Government to set up a Special Investigative Panel on Oil Theft and Losses in Nigeria.
A statement by Obiageli Onuorah, NEITI’s Head, Communications and Advocacy, which was made available to journalists in Abuja, described the decision as bold, courageous and timely given the havoc oil theft has caused in oil production and the country’s revenue generation.
To underline the seriousness of the Oil Theft Investigation Panel, NEITI disclosed that from its industry reports, Nigeria has lost 619.7 million barrels of crude oil valued at $46.16 billion or N16.25 trillion in twelve years from (2009 to 2020).
The losses, according to the statement, were from theft and sabotage, based on information and data provided by an average of eight companies covered by NEITI process over the years.
A breakdown of the losses shows that in 2009 when NEITI commenced reporting of crude oil theft, Nigeria lost 69.49 million barrels valued at $4.31billion. The figures for 2010, 2011 and 2012 revealed that 28.31 million, 38.61 million and 51.58 million barrels which were valued at $2.29 billion, $4.39 billion and $5.82 billion were lost, respectively.
The NEITI oil & gas industry reports for 2013 to 2020 also showed that the losses to crude oil theft did not abate as 78.30 million barrels valued at $8.55 billion was lost in 2013 alone.
2014 and 2015 witnessed combined losses of 67.29 million barrels valued at $5.57 billion.
According to the NEITI reports, 2016 recorded the highest losses of 101.05 million barrels that was valued at $4.42 billion.
Between 2017 and 2020, the NEITI reports indicated losses of 36.46 million barrels ($1.99 billion) in 2017, 53.281 ($3.837 billion) in 2018, 42.248 million barrels ($2.772 billion) in 2019, and 53.056 million barrels ($2.21billion) in 2020.
The combined value of these losses is 619.7 million barrels amounting to $46.16 billion over a twelve-year period.
NEITI lamented that it was regrettable that at a time Nigeria’s economy is largely dependent on oil revenues, some Nigerians would choose to collude with foreign nationals to steal and sabotage the main sources of revenue for the federation.
The agency particularly expressed delight over the new collaboration between Offices of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and that of the National Security Adviser in coordinating the investigations and its wisdom to appoint NEITI in this special panel.
This is in view of the agency’s strategic relevance to guide the panel with reliable information and data.
NEITI in the statement also explained that as an agency with legitimate interests and mandates in enthroning transparency and accountability in the oil and gas sector, it will seek technical support where necessary from 57-member countries of the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative to help tackle the international dimension of oil theft in the work of the investigative panel.
NEITI further disclosed that after a careful review of the terms of reference of the panel on oil theft investigation, it found the terms of reference of the committee, comprehensive, incisive, and attainable.
The panel is among other things required to establish the ramifications of crude oil theft/losses in Nigeria; ascertain the causative factors, immediate and remote of crude oil theft/losses in the country, with the widest possible amplitude, identify persons/entities whether public, private or foreign, involved in the criminal enterprise; ascertain the illegal insertion into the Trans Escravos Pipelines (TEP) around Yokri area in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State.
Other recommendations in the terms of reference are to establish the level of culpability of identified persons/entities in the enterprise; examine the specific roles of regulatory agencies, security agencies tiers/arms of government and international oil companies (IOCs) in aiding and abating the criminal enterprise; assess the efficacy of the security architecture/arrangement in tackling crude oil theft/losses and associated petroleum products and recommend appropriate, commensurate and sufficiently, deterrent sanctions on all those culpable.