House of Representatives Investigates Crude Oil Theft in the Oil & Gas Sector
The House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee on the “Need to Investigate Crude Oil Theft and Loss of Revenue Accrued from the Oil and Gas Sector in Nigeria” is set to hold a Public Hearing and has requested for memoranda from the public. This is following a resolution adopted by the House of Representatives in July 2023 to investigate crude oil theft and loss of revenue accruable from the oil and gas sector, based on a motion by Hon. Philip Agbese (APC: Benue State)
In his motion, Hon. Agbese stated that in recent times, the media has been replete with news on the loss of trillions of Naira as a result of crude oil theft and loss of revenue from Oil and Gas exploration in the country. He further noted that according to reports, about 40 percent of crude oil loss is due to inaccuracies in measurement and theft as metering errors continue to occur as a result of poor maintenance of metering facilities, thus resulting to lack of transparency in hydrocarbon accounting.
His motion further highlighted concerns about reports which revealed that in 2021 alone, Nigeria lost $4 billion to oil theft at the rate of 200,000 barrels per day, as well as allegations of security agencies being complicit and largely responsible for facilitating most of the oil theft in the Niger Delta. He cited a 2022 report by the Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI) which averred that about 619.7 million barrels of crude oil, valued at $46.16billion have been stolen in the last 12 years. The motion also raised concern about allegations that the NNPC Ltd and the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) connive with national and multinational oil and gas companies to sabotage efforts to ensure an effective running of metering facilities at the well heads, flow stations, and loading platforms.
Just recently, the National Security Adviser, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu expressed similar concerns when he stated that Nigeria loses 400,000 barrels of crude oil daily, valued at about 4 million dollars, due to the activities of oil thieves and pipeline vandals.
The oil and gas sector is a critical sector of Nigeria’s economy and contributes significantly to the GDP of the country. In the words of the motion, “if crude oil theft is allowed to go on unhindered, it will only lead to devastating consequences to the country’s economy and impact the environment, health and social life of the host communities.” This is not prophetic as it can be argued that these devastating consequences are already being felt in the affected region and by the country at large.
As part of its mandate to investigate this matter, the Committee has invited industry stakeholders as well as interested civil society groups to submit memos. The date slated for the hearing is 8th and 9th September 2023 at the House of Representatives New Building. Memos are expected to reach the committee secretariat at Room 205, White House, House of Representatives, before this date.