*Says commission committed to fight against stealing nation’s resources
Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
The Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa, yesterday called on major oil producing companies in Nigeria to consider the introduction of advance cargo declaration on crude export as a measure to discourage the theft of Nigerian Crude oil.
The EFCC boss, who spoke while members of the Oil Producers Trade Section of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI, on a courtesy visit to the commission, expressed optimism that advance cargo declaration of crude export with unique tracking will not only deter the theft of Nigerian crude at the export terminals but discourage off takers who would be unwilling to accept such cargoes.
A statement issued by the spokesman of the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, in Abuja, quoted him to have said: “We need to have an advance Cargo declaration on our crude oil export, because we found out that there is theft even at the terminals, unfortunately, IOCs like yours insisted that there is nothing like that, it is impossible to happen.\
“But I believe we have conducted a case here at the EFCC where we were able to establish that crude that was taken is different from the one that was discharged and we keep on wondering, what is happening?
“So, that means there is a problem. And I believe you know what advance cargo declaration means, you have to declare in advance what your cargo is carrying and then you will be given the unique cargo tracking note on all the exports that you are making.
“No cargo that is from Nigeria should be accepted if it doesn’t have the tracking note”, he said.
He recalled that the measure was a part of the recommendations of a committee that investigated the theft of Nigerian Crude in 2014 but was unfortunately never implemented.
He challenged the oil chiefs to revisit the recommendation as it could provide a silver lining to addressing the challenge of oil theft.
He expressed regret that the total shut down of the Nigerian refineries had created a vacuum which illegal refiners were trying to fill through the production of adulterated diesel, noting that were the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited refineries to be operating even at 10% of capacity, it would have helped in reading demand pressures, while the illegal refiner would have less business.
Bawa, assured IOCs that the commission remained committed and willing to collaborate with all stakeholders both within and outside the country to bring an end to the oil theft challenge.
“We are always open, part of our core values here is collaboration, we can’t do this thing alone and that is why we are always at the forefront of reaching out to stakeholders both within and outside the country to ensure that we share information, we share intelligence and collaboratively we are taking it to the next level.”
Speaking earlier, Mr. Rick Kennedy, Managing Director, Chevron Nigeria Limited and Chairman of OPTS, stated that they were at the EFCC to build relationships and seek ways of curbing the menace of crude oil theft in the industry as well as its impact on the environment and the economy.
“We wanted to make those introductions, develop some relationships and seek some opportunities for collaboration since we believe all of us are impacted by these sets of issues. As industry operators we have significant concern to work closely with the government of Nigeria.
“We truly appreciate all of the efforts especially under the last many months and we have seen the improvements with respect to reduction to oil theft but this still persists and clearly it has a big impact in a number of ways,” he said.