The nation has emerged a leading environment where crude oil theft and other vices thrive in the world.
The Managing Director of Energia Nigeria Limited, Mr. Felix Amieyeofori, at a conference in Lagos, yesterday, said in terms of pipeline vandalism, $10-$12bn had been lost to crude theft from 2009 to 2011 alone.
The managing director, who noted that the figures would be higher when other years are considered, said 100,000 barrels per day, bpd, amounting to $5-7bn annually were also lost to sundry oil theft.
He said: “Nigeria is ranked worse than Mexico, Iraq, Russia and Indonesia on the top five countries most plagued by oil theft.
“About 75per cent of the stolen oil is being exported, with the rest being refined in illegal ‘artisanal’ refineries,” he noted.
According to him, “Stolen crude goes through the creeks at night with the aid of small vessels that transfer into internationally- registered vessels, sold to international buyers, processed by international oil refineries, and paid for using international bank accounts.”
Amieyeofori said stolen Nigerian oil worth billions of dollars is sold every year on the international market, much of which proceeds are laundered in the world financial centres.
The managing director’s words: “The money is deposited by using bulk cash smuggling, delayed deposits, shell companies, and bribing officials.
“Profits are laundered abroad in financial hubs, including New York, London, Geneva and Singapore.” He commended President Goodluck Jonathan, who said in The Hague that the Federal Government had earmarked $1bn for the implementation of a comprehensive programme to check crude oil theft, vandalism of oil and gas infrastructure, and the apprehension and prosecution of crude oil thieves.
He said there was a need to engage all the communities and settlements in these areas in a dialogue to create a mutually beneficial solution which will include network of security and surveillance, as well as economic empowerment of the communities.
The Managing Director of Petroluem Products and Marketing Company, PPMC, Mr. Haruna Momoh, said pipeline vandalism and oil theft had affected crude oil supply to the refineries, as well fuel supply to various parts of the nation.
He said manning of the pipeline network over the years started with community guards, vigilance groups, Nigeria Police, Army, Joint Task Force, JTF, and Special Task Forces, STF, all to no desired results.
Momoh said the government needs to develop a national plan for critical infrastructure and key resources protection similar to the United States’ National Infrastructure Protection Plan, NIPP.
The Federal Government should likewise declare the pipelines as strategic national assets and set up a special force to protect them, he added. The managing director said the laws against pipeline vandalism specified prosecution at Federal High Court.