NNPCL confirms rise in oil production to 1.6m bpd
• Celebrates deal with private security outfit to check oil theft
• Osinbajo weighs in on menace, says those in charge must be accountable for failures
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) confirmed that the country’s oil production has risen to 1.6 million barrels per day, a few millions short of the 1.8 million bpd quota allocated by the Oil Producing Countries Organisation (OPEC).
This was disclosed, yesterday, at the Stakeholders Conference on Oil Theft and Losses in Nigeria, held at Transcorp Hilton, Abuja.
Group Chief Executive Officer of NNPC, Mr. Mele Kyari, said the rectangular security approach, comprising NNPC and partners, regulators, government security operators and communities, boosted by the adoption of technology, ensured the recovery of production from what it was in July 2022 to 1.67 million barrels per day.
Kyari, who was represented by Chief Upstream Investment Officer, Bala Wunti, at the event chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, said implementation of the Detect, Deter, Destroy and Recover (3D strategy), the establishment of the Central Command and Control Centre for effective monitoring and coordination, the launch of the Whistle-Blowers Portal and the Crude Oil Validation Portal, as well as deployment of some of the best-in-class surveillance tools and technology have been a game changer in the fight against crude oil theft and vandalism.
The NNPCL boss stated that a key element of the collaboration has been the onboarding of private security contractors from host communities, which were hitherto isolated.
He said the security contractors’ in-depth knowledge of the terrain and modus operandi of the criminals led to massive discoveries of illegal connections and interception of vessels ferrying stolen crude oil.
Kyari said with current sustained efforts, facilities that have been shut down have reopened, and injection of crude oil into major trunklines for evacuation to terminals is being ramped up.
He said the oil and gas industry is poised to reposition itself for a sustainable growth trajectory, as efforts to rid Nigeria of the menace of crude oil theft continue to gain traction.
According to the NNPC boss, a lot of work has gone into changing the narrative and bringing all industry stakeholders together to confront a common enemy.
Crude oil theft has been a major setback for Nigeria. Last August, crude oil theft forced the country’s production down to 1.1 million barrels per day. This cut the contribution of foreign exchange earnings from crude oil export from 90 per cent, when production was high, to 78.5 per cent as of the third quarter of 2022.
To arrest the situation, NNPCL engaged a private security firm, Tantita Securities Service, owned by Government Oweizide Ekpemupolo (Tompolo) on August 13, 2022 for pipeline surveillance.
NNPCL and security agencies have put up a control centre to provide surveillance of all the country’s oil and gas assets in the Niger Delta.
The surveillance system is known as the Central Coordination, Data Integration and Activation Control Room.
MEANWHILE, Vice President Osinbajo said tackling crude oil theft and sabotage remains a major concern of the Federal Government: those in charge must be accountable because, besides economic consequences, institutional and personal reputations are at stake.
According to him, “so grievous a crime cannot simply be a subject of summitry; people must do their jobs, and if they are unable to do them, then there must be an accounting for such failures. Institutional and personal reputations are at stake.”
Osinbajo expressed concern that “oil theft and sabotage of oil and gas assets are a clear and present danger to our economy and national security. Not only do they pose a serious threat to oil exploration and our energy economy, but they also impact negatively on revenue accruals to the federation and the business prospects of investors in the oil sector.”
Noting that the Federal Government prioritised development of the Niger Delta, as well as protection of oil assets, the Vice President said: “The theft of crude oil and accompanying attacks on our energy infrastructure, especially in the Niger Delta, have, since the inception of our administration, been of utmost concern.”
Against the backdrop of huge production cuts and revenue losses, the Vice President also highlighted work done by the National Economic Council, which he chairs.
He stated that the Council set up an adhoc committee to ascertain the magnitude of oil theft and losses in Nigeria and recommend appropriate remedial measures.
“Most of the recommendations of the adhoc committee informed the Petroleum Industry Act, 2021 and are being implemented. Even so, acts of vandalism of oil and gas infrastructure, oil theft, as well as low production yields, are still being reported in damaging and unacceptable proportions,” he said.
Osinbajo noted that President Buhari had enacted the Petroleum Industry Act of 2021 with the aim of revitalising the oil and gas industry.
“Among other things, the Act stipulates elaborate provisions to accommodate the needs of host communities in oil and gas producing areas. The aim of these provisions is to assuage their sensibilities, give them a sense of belonging and foster unity of purpose with oil companies for the mutual benefit of all,” he explained.