The Edo State Governor and Chairman of the National Economic Council Ad Hoc Committee on Crude Oil Theft, Prevention and Control, Godwin Obaseki, has revealed that the country lost $1.3 billion to pipeline vandalism in the first quarter of 2019.
Obaseki said this on Tuesday in Abuja at the inaugural Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative Policy Dialogue.
According to him, the issue of oil theft in Nigeria remains a beast that must be crushed due to the devastating economic and environmental consequences on the country.
Governor Obaseki said that crude oil vandalism, oil theft and illegal bunkering have been of great concern to the government, particularly the NEC.
He said: “In terms of reference, we were first asked to look at how production can be sustained and restored in the three major lines: the Trans-Niger pipelines, the Nembe creek trunkline and the Trans Forcados pipeline.
“We are working with all the players in the industry, some of whom are here.
“For the first half of this year, we lost 22.6 billion barrels of crude oil with an estimated cost of about $1.3 billion.
“The largest losses came from lines that were operated by the same companies.
“We also noticed that the lines that were sourced, the third parties recorded the most losses.
“We should think of a proper governance structure for our strategic pipelines.
“They are strategic national assets.
“Yes, they are owned by individuals but they carry products that sustain the life of this country.
“So, we cannot deal with them like properties that are privately owned.
“To contain this crisis at this point in time, we recommended that we should set up the proper governance structure, which entails proper security to ensure further accountability.
“If it is possible, the Federal Government should reconsider repossessing these lines for a short while until we understand what’s going on.
“So, the government should be in charge with and work with the private owners to put proper security measures for these lines.”