BY Busola Aro
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), on Sunday, says the country loses an average of $7.2 million monthly from illegal oil connections.
The oil firm disclosed this following the discovery of an illegal connection in Owaza community, Abia state.
The illegal connection was discovered on Saturday, by the oil theft situation assessment delegation deployed in the Niger Delta by President Bola Tinubu.
The team was also said to have visited the Trans-Niger Pipeline Right of Way in Owaza, Abia, where an array of dismantled illegal connections were observed.
The delegation was led by Muhammed Badaru, minister of defence. Some of the members are Heineken Lokpobiri, the minister of state for petroleum resources (oil), service chiefs.
Others are Ekperipe Ekpo, minister of state for petroleum resources (gas), Nuhu Ribadu, national security adviser, and Mele Kyari, group chief executive officer, NNPC Limited.
Also in the team are Olusegun Ferreira, commander of Operation Delta Safe, operatives of security agencies, and chief executive officers of regulatory agencies in the oil and gas sector.
Speaking at the site, Kyari said clandestine refineries, illegal bunkering operations, and environmental devastation the team saw collectively translated into severe economic losses for the nation.
Kyari said while oil theft in vessels could be tracked, oil-bearing communities must play a vital role in curbing the criminal acts within their communities.
“Oil theft is one of the reasons why Nigeria cannot meet her OPEC daily production quota,” he said.
On his part, Badaru said: “We are ready to do whatever it takes for a peaceful Niger-Delta. Cease and desist from crude oil theft and economic sabotage”.
In his remarks, Ribadu applauded the security agencies, community security contractors, and the NNPC, for stepping up the fight against oil theft and economic sabotage.
“The environment and livelihoods are being destroyed while the federation is deprived of revenue capable of shoring up the economy and strengthening the naira,” he said.