*Sen Akpan calls for holistic approach to arrest problem
By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo
Shocking revelations emerged at Investigative Hearing on oil lifting, theft and its impact on petroleum production and oil revenues on Wednesday, with the Chairman, the Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream), Senator Bassey Akpan unearthing reasons behind the oil shortfall and dwindling revenue.
Speaking at the hearing on the experience of the committee during its oversight visit to major platforms in the Niger Delta, Senator Akpan expressed shock that the loss of national oil revenues due to oil theft and sabotage was horrendous.
Senator Akpan stated that the committee discovered that pipelines carrying crude oil could not be identified because they were covered with bushes with no right of way making it difficult to monitor these pipelines.
He told the stakeholders that the shortfall in the country’s oil revenues were not due to oil theft alone but also caused by inability to have evacuation access, lack of effective metering and monitoring by operators as well as the unwillingness of security agencies to checkmate the incidents of oil theft close to where they are stationed.
Senator Akpan who called for a holistic approach and political will to end this national challenge, also expressed regret that Bonny Terminal, which hitherto produced 60,000 barrels per day (bpd) has not produced a single barrel for the past seven months.
Also speaking at the occasion, the Senate President, Senator Ahmad Lawan who declared the investigative hearing open said it was the view of the Senate that oi theft impacted negatively on the country’s oil production and revenues hence its decision to set up the committee to come up with a workable template to arrest the situation. Senator Lawan who was represented at the occasion, also charged stakeholders to come up with plan to end this national challenge.
A member of the committee, Senator Kabir Kaya (Kano South) noted that while Nigeria’s OPEC quota is 1.8 million bpd, the country currently produces 1,2 million bpd showing a shortfall of 600,000 bpd. He challenged the stakeholders and the operators to find a solution to this problem.
Various stakeholders including government agencies and oil majors also made their presentations at the investigative hearing.
Presenting its position, the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) disclosed that shut in wells, oil theft and evacuation issues and lack of effective metering were the issues affecting petroleum production and national revenues. He said the country has incurred a loss of over $2.1 billion (about N872 billion) as a result of oil theft and sabotage.
Other stakeholders also made presentations and proferrred solution to the national problem.