From Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) has said it deactivated a total of 6,465 illegal refineries between 2022 to date.

The Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO), Mele Kyari, stated this during an oversight visit by the House of Representatives’ Special Committee on Oil Theft, to the NNPCL, yesterday.

Kyari, who decried the menace of oil theft, said no country surrenders the protection of such critical assets, “which are our source of income, to non-state actors.”

He said: “It is very obvious that despite all the integrity issues with our pipeline and our facilities, we have capacity beyond two million barrels per day without doing anything. But, today, we are struggling to meet the budget estimate of 1.6 million barrels per day.

“This by no means is related to crude oil theft; no, it’s not true, but the core issue that is affecting the other core issue is crude theft. No one will produce oil, knowing fully well that he cannot dispose of it, and that’s why no one is putting money into it.

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“In 2022, it became so obvious that if something dramatic is not done, we are going to run into trouble.

“ On a specific date, our production came down to as low as 1.1 million barrels per day. And, on a particular date, we have gone below a million barrels to explain this except for the infraction and, especially, the oil theft.”

The Chairman, Special Committee, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, while speaking during the visit, said it was disheartening that infractions on oil facilities did not stop with the pipelines. He noted that there were also breaches at the oil well heads, flow stations, loading, and export terminals, among others.

“We are compiling the facts and figures. Instances where approvals are hastily granted to vessels involved in crude theft, just to cover official complicity are reported.

Incidences of undeclared liftings are noted, and all these and several other infractions, particularly in our offshore marine environment, contribute to the huge volume of crude oil theft being reported,” Doguwa stated.