Reps probe alleged $4bn crude oil theft

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The House of Representatives decided yesterday to look into a $4 billion crude oil theft in order to prevent further economic harm to the nation and make sure that those responsible are held accountable.

After Philip Agbese’s motion on the “Need to Investigate Crude Oil Theft and Loss of Revenue Accrued from the Oil and Gas Sector in Nigeria” was approved, the House then passed the resolution.

Agbese claimed that recent news stories about the theft of crude oil and the loss of revenue from the nation’s oil and gas exploration were widely reported in the media.

“According to reports, about 40% of crude oil loss is due to inaccuracies in measurement, theft, and as metering errors continue to occur as a result of subpar maintenance of metering facilities, resulting in lack of transparency in hydrocarbon accounting,” the speaker said.

According to reports, Nigeria lost $4 billion to oil theft in 2021 alone, at a rate of 200,000 barrels per day, and he added that the numbers had increased since then.

He claims that the majority of the oil theft in the Niger Delta is made possible by security agencies, who are also allegedly complicit in the crime.

Agbese emphasized further that the military had been charged with committing 99 percent of oil theft on numerous occasions, and he questioned why the federal government had not taken enforcement action against the wrongdoing.

About 619.7 million barrels of crude oil worth $46.1 billion were stolen in the previous 12 years, according to a 2022 report by the Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative, NEITI. Stakeholders have frequently referred to crude oil theft in the nation as an organized crime committed by the elite.

“Despite the significant sums of money appropriated to fully equip Nigeria’s security and intelligence agencies, their performance in reducing oil theft has been appalling.

“Despite the vast resources at their disposal, the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, or NUPRC, and NNPC Ltd. have allegedly continued to sabotage efforts to ensure the efficient operation of metering facilities at well heads, flow stations, and loading platforms in active collusion with national and multinational oil and gas companies.

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He said that if crude oil theft is allowed to continue unchecked, it will have a devastating impact on not only the economy of the nation but also the environment, health, and social life of the host communities.

A yet-to-be-formed ad hoc committee was tasked with studying the motion and reporting back to the House within four weeks.

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