Oil Theft Threatens $10Bn Independent Oil Producers Investment 

Uche Cecil Izuora

The Independent Petroleum Producers Group, IPPG, has lamented rising crude oil theft from its assets which is significantly threatening its huge investments currently put at over $10 billion.

Chairman of the Group, Abdulrasaq Isa, speaking at an engagement meeting with the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, NUPRC, in Lagos yesterday, disclosed that apart from producing about 252,000 barrels of oil a day and 650 million standard cubic feet of gas daily, the Group would be responsible for 100 per cent of 1.2 million barrels per day refining capacity in the near future.

According to Isa, indigenous players remain best placed to guarantee a steady flow, incremental investments in adding value to those assets and had spent over $11 billion in asset acquisitions and $13 billion in Capital Expenditures, CAPEX.

Isa, who is also the Chairman Board at Waltersmith Petroman Oil Limited, disclosed that these investments are facing serious challenges arising from incidences of crude theft which are now unprecedented and unsustainable.

He said the Group has lost between 15 per cent to 90 per cent from crude theft in the last six months particularly from Eastern axis, while security costs have significantly escalated.

The Chairman said to address the trend, there is need to enhance security for strategic installations and asset across the region while a major offensive against crude oil thieves be reinvigorated.

In addition, he suggested execution of private sector driven pipeline security initiative and deployment of surveillance technology like drone technology to identify Illegal crude theft points.

He also called for continuos engagement by regulators in the formulation of industry regulations and inclusion of IPPG members in the Petroleum Industry Act, PIA, Implementation Steering Committee and all-inclusive approach in the effective and timely implementation of the PIA.

In his remarks,  the Commission Chief Executive, CCE, of the NUPRC, Gbenga Komolafe, acknowledged the rising crude theft in the industry but assured that government is taking serious steps to address them.

Komolafe, said a strong security web will be weaved around oil facilities to curb the incidence, adding that community engagement as stipulated in the Act would be rigorously pursued to achieve peace in host communities.

He used the forum to appeal to the producers to ensure timely payment of royalties as enshrined in the PIA as it represents first line of charge.

With that government will continue to develop initiatives that will help create clement environment for investment to thrive in the sector.

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