‘IOCs, operators must provide fund to address insecurity amidst crude theft’
As Nigeria faces historic low oil production amidst gloomy economy and foreign exchange crisis, demands are growing for International Oil Companies (IOCs) and other operators to create a funding pool that will sustainably address insecurity, especially in region where oil operations are going on.
The development is coming as insecurity reduces daily oil production output below one million barrels while stalling billions of dollar oil and gas projects across the country amidst growing clamour for divestment.
The Guardian had reported that Nigeria has lost nothing less than 120 million barrels of crude oil from January and September this year amidst revenue crisis when compared with same period last year.
The level of crude oil loss in production translates to $12.6B going by crude oil production data obtained from the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC).
While Nigeria had proposed a budget of N20.5 trillion ($47.3 billion) in 2023 with the feasibility relying heavily on borrowing amidst the country’s debt crisis, the $12.6B loss from the oil production would have provided a quarter of what is needed to finance the budget.
With record foreign exchange crisis which would have eased if oil production and oil and gas projects are going on smoothly in country, The Guardian gathered that most projects including the $2.8B AKK project and the 300 million standard cubic feet of gas per day, regarded as one of the largest domestic gas projects in Nigeria are stalled due to insecurity.
A leading ingenious oil producer and service provider, Dr. Leemon Ikpea, however, noted that creating a special security fund where oil operators would deposit part of their earnings have become sacrosanct in the face of the rising insecurity in the country.
Speaking in Abuja as his company, Lee Engineering Group clocks 31 years, Ikpea said that oil companies has a lot to do to safeguard the security architecture of the country, adding that the government could not do it alone any more.
Ikpea, who’s company is also into exploration under the recently marginal bid round, noted that it remained painful for the country to be losing and facing foreign exchange crisis at a time that oil producing countries are smiling to the bank.
Noting that indigenous operators must be supported to thrive, Ikpea, a founding staff at Warri Refinery, said that his foundation has trained 40 doctors in different fields and another l 189 graduates in various fields too.
“Lee Engineering was established in November 11, 1991, in Warri. As at today I have more than 90 drivers and 150 security guards with over 2,000 workers today spread across our subsidiaries in aviation, travels and tour, engineering and oil and gas,” Ikpea said.