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Former NNPC official faults presidency’s move to give crude refining right to ‘oil thieves’

A FORMER Group Executive Director for Refineries and Petrochemicals at the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Afolabi Oladele has faulted presidency’s planned move to allocate crude oil refining to illegal operators.

The former senior NNPC official said this on Arise TV on Friday, noting that the planned move was not well-thought-out due to concerns of environmental damage as currently witnessed in Port Harcourt.

“You want to begin to give crude oil to the so called illegal refiners. The sheer damage to the environment is just manifesting itself in black sooth currently being suffered in Port Harcourt.” Oladele said.


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He further stressed that the current operating system for most oil firms in Niger Delta was a major concern due to activities of oil thieves.

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“Anyone who is operating in the Eastern Delta throughout 2021 would have lost half of production to oil theft.

“We cannot meet the quota, not that from production end we cannot, but given the crisis to oil theft, Nigeria is being bled to death.You can now see why the oil majors are leaving Nigeria.”

Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs Ita Enang had revealed  government’s planned allocation of crude oil to illegal refiners.

Enang explained that the step was a way of addressing rising illegal refining, adding that the government planned to establish a ‘refinery park’ for the purpose.

Following this development, Oladele noted that the most oil majors were leaving Nigeria because of rising concerns of oil theft and some level of lawlessness.

Oladele is not alone on this concern. Chairman of Heirs Oil and Gas Tony Elumelu had shared a similar concern on rising oil theft in Nigeria.

Elumelu said recently that Nigeria lost over $4billion to oil thieves between January and September 2021.

The business mogul described the theft as a national challenge, stressing that “We produce sometimes, about 87,000barrels per day, thieves take 50,000 per day.”



    Notably, the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) indicated that in 2019, Nigeria lost 42.25 million barrels of crude to theft valued at $2.77 billion.

    According to reports, Nigeria exports 1.3 million barrels per day as against the OPEC quota of 1.6 million.

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    Analysts say the 300 000 barrels not being met in the quota are stolen. This is even as the Federal Government struggles to fund its budget, relying  with so much on borrowing.

    “The impact is very pervasive, as states would keep struggling to get proceeds to share from the federation account. Coupled with that is the big elephant in the room,  subsidy, which the government even borrows to fund,  Associate Consultant to the British Department for International Development, Celestine Okeke told The ICIR.


    Harrison Edeh is a journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, always determined to drive advocacy for good governance through holding public officials and businesses accountable.

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