FROM EMMANUEL OGOIGBE, WARRI
Anglo-Dutch oil giant, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), has decried the increasing theft of oil in the Niger-Delta and called for massive surveillance by security agencies to check the trend.
Managing Director of the company, Mr. Mutiu Sumonu, who raised the alarm at the just concluded Delta State oil and gas stakeholders conference held in Warri, said the scourge has become a major threat to the Nigerian economy.
According to Sumonu, who was represented by the manager, Ogoni Restoration Project, Augustine Igbuku, massive oil spills also resulted from the criminal activities of some individuals.
He revealed that as much as 150,000 barrels of oil were being stolen each day from Nigeria, adding that most of the oil was illegally shipped and sold in international markets, while some quantities of crude were being refined along the creeks.
Sumonu further lamented that the menace of crude oil theft, illegal refining, pipeline vandalism and their attendant environmental degradation were prevalent in the Niger-Delta region. He identifed poverty, corruption, unemployment, and ineffective law enforcement as some of the factors responsible for the oil theft.