Saturday, September 23, 2023


THE INSIDER: Reps panel under pressure to ditch probe of alleged crude oil theft 

THE INSIDER: Reps panel under pressure to ditch probe of alleged crude oil theft 
September 18
14:03 2023

Some stakeholders in the oil and gas sector are reportedly making attempts to thwart the house of representatives ad hoc committee’s investigation on crude oil theft.

An insider privy to the probe told TheCable that the committee has made “stunning discoveries” about oil theft which may have involved the connivance of regulatory agencies and their collaborators in the sector.

The committee, chaired by Alhassan Rurum, is beaming its searchlight on the activities of marginal field operators that allegedly aid crude oil theft to complement the shortfalls in their production.

TheCable understands that the committee has held extensive interactions with security agencies and would also engage operators of the marginal fields, as well as 14 production-sharing contract operators and 57 joint venture operators.


However, Tajudeen Abass, speaker of the house of representatives, is being lobbied to stop the committee from going ahead with the investigation, the insider revealed.

Industry operators are said to have boasted that nothing would come out of the investigation.

“They have attempted to use the Speaker Tajudeen Abass to stop some ad hoc committees from carrying out their duties as assigned by the house, but the speaker refused to listen to anyone whose agency is being investigated by any of the committees,” the insider said.


“For him, it is a policy that cannot be changed by anyone on earth.”


In his address during the first day of the committee’s public hearing on September 7, Rurum said the panel is committed to doing a thorough job, noting that the report, if implemented, would put an end to the “fiasco” of oil theft in Nigeria.

The committee chairman said the panel would not jump to a conclusion on any allegation.


He assured that the legislative procedure of the hearing presents an opportunity for everyone to make their submissions to the committee.

TheCable understands that the committee’s investigation has so far uncovered “massive corruption and collusion” of regulatory agencies at the export loading terminals.

According to the insider, the probe has shown that many arrested ocean vessels involved in massive underhand dealings had the tacit approval of the officials of government regulatory agencies.

“Most of these thefts occur offshore and most of Nigeria’s export loading platforms are offshore,” he said.


The committee is also investigating allegations that serving and retired officers of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (formerly DPR) may be complicit.

It is alleged that some of them may have vested interests in the marginal fields and the abandoned oil wells which litter the entire Niger Delta. 


“From the reports received so far, most of the abandoned and non-decommissioned oil wells and pipelines have escalated incidences of oil theft,” the source said.

“Circumstances surrounding the release of arrested and complicit vessels by prosecuting agencies are also being looked into by the committee.”


The hearing of the committee is expected to continue on Tuesday.

Officials of NNPC Limited, NUPRC, NIMASA, NIWA, NMDRA, and some ministers, as well as representatives of anti-corruption agencies and customs, are expected to be in attendance.



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