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Business News of Thursday, 1 September 2022

Source: vanguardngr.com

Navy disagrees with Petroleum Ministry, others over quantity of stolen oil

File photo to illustrate the story File photo to illustrate the story

The Nigerian Navy has said it was impossible to have up to 200,000 barrels of crude oil stolen and ferried through Nigeria’s waters. This is contrary to the position of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and other agencies under it which gave the figure at between 200,000 – 400,000 barrels per day, bpd.

The Ministry and other government-owned institutions have repeatedly screamed over the massive crude oil theft in the Nigeria’s territorial waters, adding that it culminated in huge revenue losses to the government.

But speaking in a television interview on Monday night, the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo, said it was practically impossible for such quantity of crude to be stolen daily, given the deployments of Navy Ships and other operational platforms spread across the nation’s maritime domain.

He stated: “As much as there is no perfect system, the phenomenon of oil theft and losses must be properly de-conflicted in order to profer lasting solutions to the malaise which is currently bedevilling our economic resources.

“We need to understand the differences between oil theft and of course, oil loss. While oil theft is siphoning oil from vandalised pipes into barges, oil losses occur when there is non-production, especially during shut-ins and force majeure as the federal government does not earn the desired revenue it should”.

Explaining further, the CNS said oil losses could be as a result of metering errors on the operating platforms, while the volume of crude oil shut-ins from non-production are often added to oil theft data instead of accounting for them as oil losses by the authorities.

“This should not be. Some sources also claim that about 200,000 – 400,000 barrels per day are being considered stolen. Most of these claims are definitely outrageous and they are unrealistic,” he insisted.

Buttressing the fact that it is practically impossible to steal such volume of oil without being detected, Admiral Gambo said, “Let us even briefly analyse this. For instance, 100,000 barrels of crude oil is equivalent to 15,800,000 litres of crude, which requires a five-ton barge making 3,160 trips per day to convey this product out of the creeks.

“How do you pass the estuaries with this? So, let’s assume now you even have many barges because of the time required to carry out this product. That means you entirely close the navigable waters heading out to sea, through the estuaries, to embark them or to transit them into a mother vessel that will eventually take them out of the country.

“Of course, this is most unlikely considering the heightened presence of security agencies in the maritime environment as well as the launch of the subsisting operations by the Nigerian Navy, including, of course, the deployment of the maritime domain awareness facilities”.