The state oil company reveals massive scale of oil theft through multiple illegal connections across the country but maintains that production projections are realistic
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) has disclosed that there are 4,800 illegal connections on some 5,000 kilometers of oil pipelines across the country.
This was disclosed by the Chief Executive Officer of NNPCL, Mele Kyari, during an interface with the members of the senate committee on Appropriations held on Friday, 8th December, 2023.
While lamenting the high rate of oil theft through these illegal connections on oil pipelines, Mr. Kyari maintained that the 2024 budget’s benchmark oil price of $77.96 and daily oil production of 1.78 million barrels were feasible.
In his submissions to the committee, Kyari stated that although the country currently produces an average of 1.5 million barrels of oil per day, the oil component of the budgetary projections is realistic and achievable.
Responding to posers on oil theft by Senator Benson Kombowei (PDP, Bayelsa Central), the NNPCL boss told the committee that the oil theft situation in Niger Delta is a calamity.
“As it is today, about 4,800 illegal connections are made on the over 5,000 oil pipelines across the country. The illegal connections on oil pipelines in the Niger Delta is so rampant that within 100 kilometers of the affected pipelines, 300 insertions are made on them, which eventually made the pipe to be weak to the point of not being able to hold pressure of oil pumped, let alone delivering it to targeted destinations,” he said.
He said the company resorted to engaging non-state actors to safeguard the pipelines because security agencies were not able to curtail the scale of the theft. “It is abnormal to engage non – state actors to protect critical assets like oil pipeline. We have however responded abnormally and are getting results, because unlike as it was in July 2022 when less than 1.2million barrels of oil were produced by day, it has been 1.5 million barrels per day within the last two to three months,” he said.
When asked by the chairman of the committee, Senator Solomon Adeola (APC, Ogun West), if the projected oil production per day can be jerked up to 1.8million from 1.78million, he said the projections and parameters set in the proposed budget are okay for NNPCL and realisable.
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He also informed the committee that condensate, which produces between 200,000 and 300,000 barrels per day, is included in the 1.78 million barrels of oil production for the 2024 budget.
He stressed further that NNPCL, between July and November this year remitted N406 billion into the Federation Account as dividends.
Senator Adeola stated in his closing remarks that Kyari has reinforced the committee’s position regarding the viability of the assumptions and projections of the 2024 budget proposals.