From Molly Kilete, Abuja
The special investigative panel set up by the Federal Government to investigate oil theft/losses in Nigeria has submitted its report.
The panel headed by Major General Barry Ndiomu submitted its report to the National Security Adviser (NSA), retired Major General Babagana Monguno.
Head, Strategic Communication, in the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), Mr Zakari Usman, who made the disclosure, said Gen. Ndiomu called for speedy implementation of the report, to curb the incessant crude theft/losses.
Usman, in a statement, said the panel engaged key stakeholders, both within and outside the oil and gas industry, including state governments; ministries, departments and agencies; security agencies; regulatory agencies; international and indigenous oil companies; traditional institutions; host communities and artisanal refiners, among others.
He said in discharging the responsibility of the panel, it received and reviewed several memoranda and reports on oil theft and losses.
During the assignment, the panel discovered several layers of involvement in the illegal theft of crude oil, despite the best efforts of the Armed Forces and other security agencies to combat the activities of the oil thieves.
The panel also observed that crude oil losses arose from a lack of proper reporting of crude oil production; illegal refining; theft from wellheads; and diversion from sophisticated pipelines networks. The panel also attributed losses to the absence of a robust industry-wide metering system; and an unworkable security arrangement. The confusing roles of regulatory agencies was also cited as being responsible for making the detection of theft/losses difficult.
He also said prompt implementation of the report would not only create an immediate impact on crude oil production levels to meet OPEC’s quota, but would, also, attract foreign direct investment and serve Nigeria’s economic and national security concerns.
Receiving the report, the NSA thanked the panel for keeping to the timeframe and for addressing the issues of oil theft and losses comprehensively. He assured that the government would study the report and see to its immediate implementation, especially the recommendations with short-term perspectives.