Senate fails to indict thieves

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From Fred Itua, AbujaThe Senate ad-hoc committee constituted to conduct a thorough investigation on oil theft and consequent damage to the nation’s economy, yesterday, failed to indict any individual or companies responsible for the economic sabotage.The committee in its report considered and adopted by the Senate, said Nigeria lost $2 billion (N1.3 trillion) to oil theft between January and August this year .The Senate had on April 14 constituted a 13-member Ad-hoc Committee on “Oil lifting, theft and the impact on petroleum production and oil revenues” under the chairmanship of Akpan Bassey who incidentally, is the chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum (Upstream).Though the committee, in report adopted by Senate at plenary made far-reaching recommendations in stemming the tide, it failed to name a single person or corporate entity carrying out the oil theft.In one of its findings, the committee said: “Nigeria lost over $2 billion to oil theft between January and August 2022, with consequent loss of revenue that would supported the country ‘ s fiscal deficits and budget implementation.”The report, however, indicated that concerted efforts being made against the crime by all stakeholders , have started yielding results with Forcados Terminal producing 500,000 barrels per day now as against zero production in the first six months of the year.Bonny Terminals according to the report , is also producing 87,000 barrels of oil per day now as against zero production a couple of months ago due to activities of economic saboteurs.Parts of the 16-point recommendations of the committee are that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) should stop undermining Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) and Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) from performing their functions.That provisions of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), should be adhered to by NNPCL as regards functions of the established agencies.That there is need for immediate streamlining of agencies present at the terminals in line with the relevance of their PIA delineated upstream and midstream / downstream statutory functions.That NUPRC should fast track the upgrade of the National Production Monitoring Systems ( NPMS) to enable Real Time Monitoring of Flow Station and Terminal activities.That NUPRC should expedite the deployment and strict enforcement of the Advance Crude Oil Cargo Declaration solution for detection and mitigation of illegal movement of vessels to ensure adequate revenue generation and optimal crude oil production.That the Bureau of Public Procurement should expedite all processes of procurement for NUPRC in ensuring immediate deployment of an online real-time monitoring system by the commission across all upstream oil and gas production platforms for accuracy in measuring production volume by producers.That NUPRC should resume full regulatory oversight of all existing crude oil terminals in Nigeria including integrated ones, crude oil pipelines , issuance of loading clearance and processing of export permit in line with section 8(d) of the PIA, as regulatory activities at crude oil terminals are interdependent and contingent.That curtailing crude oil theft should be a collective responsibility through report of illegal activities and transactions to appropriate authorities by well meaning Nigerians .The report also frowned at undue interference of Minister of State in the operations of NUPRC as shown with letters made available to it by the agency and stressed that both the Minister and NNPCL should allow PIA to function .The report states: “The PIA as signed into law by the President , must be allowed to function by all stakeholders in the sector as any amendment on it now will send wrong signals to the International community.”



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