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‘Nigeria lost US$ 1.23 billion to oil theft in first quarter of 2013’

Nigeria lost 191 billion Naira (about US$ 1.23 billion) to oil theft and vandalism in the first quarter of 2013 as crude oil theft continued to threaten the country’s revenue base, the local PUNCH newspaper reported Thursday.

The paper quoted the State-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) as saying Wednesday that there had been a significant drop in crude oil production for the first quarter of 2013.

The NNPC said in the statement by the Acting Group General Manager, Public Affairs Division, Ms. Tumini Green, that incessant crude oil theft and vandalism along the major pipelines within the Niger Delta had been responsible for the drop in oil production.

The NNPC said daily crude oil production during the period fluctuated between 2.1 million and 2.3 million barrels per day compared with the projected estimate of 2.48mbpd.

“Expectedly, this fall between actual production and forecast in first quarter 2013 has resulted in a drop in crude oil revenue of about US$ 1.23 billion that should have accrued to the Federation Account,” Green said.

She further explained that the NNPC/Shell Petroleum Development Company Joint Venture recently declared a force majeure on Bonny Crude due to incessant crude oil theft, which had resulted in the shutting in of 150,000bpd.

She said, “Investigations showed that 53 break points were discovered along the 97-kilometre Nembe Creek Trunkline and that repair work is expected to last about six weeks.

“This will further reduce our April and May monthly average to about 2.2mbpd and further decrease crude oil revenue by about US$ 554 million that should have accrued to the Federation Account.”

Green, however, assured that the maintenance work would have minimal effect on gas supply to the domestic market.

The NNPC spokesperson maintained that crude theft and pipeline vandalism would continue to degrade the environment, increase operational costs, impact negatively on the image of the country and reduce revenue accruable to the nation.

She appealed to all stakeholders to cooperate with the corporation as it strived to eliminate the menace.

Meanwhile, the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) said it shut down the Nembe Creek Trunkline (NCTL) since 15 April, 2013, to remove crude oil theft connections and investigate suspected leaks.

The Managing Director, SPDC and Country Chair, Shell Nigeria, Mr. Mutiu Sunmonu, said, “We’re concerned that the NCTL has been targeted by crude oil thieves repeatedly since we installed the new line in 2010 at a cost of $1.1bn.”

The International Energy Agency had, last year, said that Nigeria was losing about US$ 7 billion annually to oil theft.

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