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Oil theft affecting gas supply to Portugal, says Osagie Okunbor

Oil theft affecting gas supply to Portugal, says Osagie Okunbor
September 23
10:12 2022

Osagie Okunbor, country chair, Shell companies in Nigeria, says oil theft is taking a toll on the country’s ability to supply gas international buyers.

Okunbor spoke to TheCable on Thursday on the sidelines of the 60th anniversary of Oil Producers Trade Section (OPTS) of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), held in Lagos.

On Monday, the government of Portugal had complained that it could face gas supply challenges this winter, if Nigeria does not deliver all the liquefied natural gas (LNG) volumes due to its country.

The European country (which got 49.5 percent of its gas from Nigeria last year) had expressed doubts that Nigeria would meet its supply volumes.


“There is a risk of it not complying,” Duarte Cordeirothe country’s environment and energy minister, had said.

“From one day to another, we may have a problem, such as not being supplied the volume of gas that is planned.”

Speaking on the issue, Okunbor, also the acting chairman of OPTS, said Nigeria’s inability to supply gas to Portugal was due to the same problem that have affected oil production — oil theft.


“The whole crude theft issue we’re talking about, does not just affect oil. It also affects gas. So, the net result of that is the gas supply in day-to-day. The Nigerian LNG, which is probably the most important supplier of gas to Portugal is affected. So, this whole thing, they all have knock-on effects, but there are clear recovery plans on the way and I’m quite confident that this supply obligations will be met in the very near term,” he said.

“Oil theft is without a doubt as you have heard from all stakeholders, one of the most difficult issues we face today. We are working very actively with the NNPC and other agencies of the federal government of Nigeria, the security forces to do everything we can to address this scourge. It is it is terrible. I think that’s the easiest way to put it. Definitely there is hope, we’re not folding our arms. Like I said we are working in very close collaboration with the NNPC to see how we can address these issues.”

On the recent signing of the Nigerian-Moroccan Gas Pipeline by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, the OPTS leader said it was a major milestone in the energy sector.

He said the OPTS, though not actively involved yet, is poised to be part of it when the pipeline comes on stream.


“I think it’s a major development for the country. Given where we are with the energy landscape, particularly gas supply to Europe, you’ve heard the minister of state for petroleum, talk about Nigeria’s ambitions in that regard, as we’ve signed it Nigeria is rich in abundant gas resources. And this just presents a fantastic opportunity at this time,” Okunbor said.

“But this is still very much government led. The OPTS is not as actively engaged yet but we know about it and we are poised to be part of this history when it comes on stream.”

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