- Third party responsible for crude theft, says DPR
By Udora Orizu
The House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee on Crude Oil Theft, Wednesday, said forensic audit conducted had shown that crude oil worth over $20 billion could not be accounted for between 2005 and 2012.
The Chairman of the Ad-hoc Committee, Hon. Peter Akpatason, who made the disclosure during the resumed hearing in Abuja, said that the same infractions were observed between 2016 and 2019.
Akpatason said the Committee resolved to resume the investigation on crude oil theft in Nigeria, having gone through submissions from the various stakeholders in the sector.
The lawmaker while stating that the committee was not set up to witch-hunt any organisation, however said anyone found culpable shall be brought to face the law by the appropriate law enforcement agency.
According to him, ”the effects of crude oil theft cannot be overemphasized, and this has lasted for too long. As patriots, it is our collective responsibility to see to the end of this stealing. The Ad-hoc Committee has identified the key role DPR as the agency of government in the sector hence your re-invitation today to enable us to work together and come up with a common front on ways to tackle this matter if not completely put an end to it, reduce it to its barest minimum.
“DPR is the agency of government saddled with the responsibility of monitoring crude oil production and lifting. The Committee requested and obtained schedules of crude oil produced and lifting between 2005 to 2019.
“Forensic analysis of the data revealed a very wide margin between what was reported produced and what was lifted. Between 2005 and 2012, DPR reported production of 1,746,621,167 barrels from four sampled oil terminals of Egeravos, Bonny, Forcados and Bonga.
“Out of these production volumes, only 1,417,200,848 barrels were accounted for, as having been lifted officially. A whopping volume of 329,420,319 barrels, valued at over $20 billion, could not be accounted for. The same trend of infractions was observed in the years 2016-2019.
“The Committee through the analysis of submissions to the Committee have raised issues requiring clarifications from DPR these issues range from unprocessed crude oil, suspected stolen/diverted crude oil, discrepancies in records, use of inappropriate devices and technologies for measurement and gauging despite huge budgetary provisions. During the analysis, the Committee made discoveries that require clarifications from major stakeholders.”
In his presentation, Director of Department of Petroleum Resources, Mr Sarki Auwalu blamed the crude theft on third party interference, particularly at the land terminals.
He said, ”The problem is that we have 30 terminals in Nigeria and these terminals, five are land terminals. Most of the thefts, they are coming from land terminals because the land producers, they have to use pipelines to transport the crude into the terminals for export. In the process, you have a lot of third party interference in which those points of theft were there; small volumes that account for the larger volume are being taken and they are being stolen.
”So, most of the discrepancies in production and export, you can easily calculate the theft volume. And the theft volume, if not all, come from the land terminals. But the offshore terminals, it is actually practically impossible to steal crude from offshore terminals, since it is from the bottom of the sea.”