Nigeria losing $9 billion to oil theft annually says Ribadu

Security is the major reason Nigeria is haemorrhaging in massive revenue Nuhu Ribadu, Chairman of the Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force, told about 100 leading security experts drawn from the state and private sectors Thursday at a critical meeting to “review existing strategies, working or failing models, and a perspective of the vision for the future” in Abuja.

“The truth is that depending on whose statistics you are endorsing today, our country loses about a quarter of a million barrels of crude oil per day to theft, not to mention spillage, and I challenge you all to imagine the revenue implications of that loss, ladies and gentlemen,” Mr. Ribadu told his audience.

He told the experts that conservative losses compute to about $25 Million dollars in revenue leakage daily, adding up to about $9 billion annually, “and at that level, brothers and friends, oil theft has become, perhaps, the leading threat to our sovereignty” he remarked.

The Task Force on Petroleum Revenue which is rounding up its work organised the meeting as a sensitization programme to elicit a new consensus from leading stakeholders in the security field on how to end the problems of bunkering, piracy, and kidnapping in the “major resource belt” of the nation, which Mr. Ribadu described as the “strategic asset base of the country which requires new models of compassionate and workable policy responses.”

Community representatives from the Niger Delta told PREMIUM TIMES that they felt “humanized as co-stakeholders, for the first time, in a government setting” to share their perspectives without “being seen merely as criminal gangs.” At least 12 international and half a dozen local oil-producing companies who also participated at the meeting thought “it had a feel of more reality and purpose than many government talk shops.”

The security meeting dovetailed into an earlier meeting, on automation of the production value chain in the oil and gas industry, which drew an equal number of IT experts seeking the best technology mechanism to ensure expanded accountability and transparency regimes in the industry.

Some of the resolutions proposed for further reflections and implementations included introduction of technology based standardised metering systems with electronic and satellite capabilities, regulated community policing mechanisms, genetic finger printing of Nigerian hydrocarbon assets, and a robust regulatory environment in the industry.


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