The Senate ad-hoc committee on oil theft has commenced investigation into oil theft and illegal bunkering activities in the Niger Delta Region.
The Federal Government said Nigeria loses about 400,000 barrels of crude oil to theft on a daily basis.
Last week, the petroleum and gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, (PENGASSAN) embarked on a nationwide protest threatening to shut down oil production for 30 days if the federal government fails to curb the issue of oil theft.
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President of the association, Mr. Festus Osifo accused stakeholders in the oil and gas sector of complicity in oil theft and while this issue is yet to be resolved, the recent award of a pipeline surveillance contract by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited to a company promoted by a former Niger Delta militant Governor government equipment popularly known as Tompolo is creating
tension in the Niger Delta.
Some stakeholders from the region are worried that the contract was 48 billion naira may cause war in their land.
Petroleum Engineer, Account and Tax Expert Bala Zaka stated on TVC Breakfast on Wednesday with Mike Okwoche, Veronica Dan-Ikpoyi, and Kemi Fola-Adeyemo that all security agencies, organisations, and bodies tasked with ensuring pipeline security have failed.
“What this means is that all security agencies have failed, and it is likely that a corporate entity owned by an individual had everything it needed to secure the pipelines.”
Mr Zaka expressed dissatisfaction, saying, “If all those security agencies can’t secure the pipelines, why do we have them?”
He pointed out that while it is good to have programmes for the development of local content that would benefit the community, this does not imply that the security and surveillance of websites should be given to an individual in a nation where laws and authorities are in place.
According to the Petroleum Engineer, the government’s transfer to Tompolo is a blatant sign that all security agencies are either out of options or hopeless.
“Even if something similar occurs, it will be turned over to a Tompolo equivalent or the Consortium of the Tompolos.
Mr. Zala reaffirmed his support for corporate social responsibility and community initiatives.
“In Akwa Ibom, Imo, Cross River, Rivers, and Bayelsa, we have the equivalent of Tom Polo.” What we mean is that if it had been holistic, we would not have had concerns from various agencies”.
He confirmed that the majority of oil companies had surveillance departments and equipment.
Mr Zaka said Nigeria loses about 400,000 bpd of crude oil, which is about 2,000 tankers with 33,000ltrs.
“This is why the federal government desired to restructure the security architecture.
“We have representatives from security agencies, oil companies, and the equivalent of Tom polos from all of the Niger Delta’s oil producing states.
“We want to develop a comprehensive strategy for how the Consortium will operate, including the delineation, security approach, reporting approach, and surveillance approach, among other things.
“Crude oil theft has created a hostile business climate among Nigerian oil and gas operators, as well as a negative signal to the international community, particularly the oil and gas community,” he added.
Constant oil theft has taken a toll on government revenue over the months.
In addition, the Petroleum expert stated that certain issues can be positively addressed, recalibrated, and reviewed.
Mr Zaka suggested that a meeting be held between security agencies, oil and gas operators, investors, and the Tom Polo Consortium to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
“Criminality is taking place; we have economic marauders and economic vampires attempting to destroy the sector that generates so much revenue for Nigeria.
“It would have been handled in a different way.
“We now have a case on our hands; the government made a decision, and the contract was awarded. We must seek out areas where we can be subtle, cushion and re-arrange, rejig, and make positive progress.”
The petroleum expert stated that the contract can still be reviewed rather than being cancelled outright because it is too late.