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Oil theft: Nigeria’s daily oil production drops to 972,324 barrels in August




NIGERIA’S ‘s rising oil theft menace affected production in August as records showed the figures dropped to an average of 972,324 barrels per day for the month.

The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) confirmed the development in its latest crude oil and condensate production data for August 2022.

According to the NUPRC report, the drop was more than 10 per cent, compared to the July 2022 production figure of 1.08 million barrels per day, and lower than the 1.8 million barrels per day production quota set by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).


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With condensate, production averaged 1.18 million barrels per day for the month.

Nigeria had been struggling to meet the 1.8 million barrels per day OPEC production quota due to oil theft and pipeline vandalism.

It also affected the country’s earnings, resulting in a significant drop in monthly allocation to the federation account.

Industry analysts asserted the drop would worsen Nigeria’s fiscal crisis as oil remains the mainstay of its economy, and could lead to more borrowings to fund budget deficits.

The Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, had disclosed at the presentation of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) to the National Assembly last month that Nigeria was planning to borrow over N11 trillion to fund, largely, budget deficit in 2023.

Analysts feared that if the drop in production persisted, Nigeria might be forced to borrow more than that amount, in addition to the fact that a proposed telecom tax where the country hoped to earn more revenue had been suspended.

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Although the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCLtd) has launched an app to track oil theft, the analysts said complicity by government’s officials in oil theft put the oil company in a tight spot in fighting the menace.

“There is high complicity with the powers that be in the oil theft. Government is being smart by half in employing Tompoloin to be guarding the pipeline. There is no way we will be losing almost 400,000 barrels per day to oil theft without the powers that be getting involved,” an oil sector analyst, Oloruntoba Yusuf, said.

A former president of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and former president of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), Peter Esele, urged the Federal Government to utilise the aerial surveillance system in addressing the oil theft problem.

Esele said, “The Federal Government can deploy aerial surveillance – and aerial surveillance these days is not so expensive. We have the drone technology, which can help.

“It is not just the Federal Government. Oil theft is affecting you, me, infrastructural development, healthcare, education, everything, and until the Federal Government decides to stand up and take the challenge frontally, we will continue to talk about it.”

Esele stressed that widespread oil theft was an organised venture run by groups, in collaboration with security operatives. He described the government as “unserious” with finding a lasting solution to the crime, but was only reacting now because the country “is financially sick.”

He urged the Federal Government to address the concerns of oil producing communities and secure their support in the fight against oil theft, saying those communities  harbour a certain sense of injustice that somehow impacts on the oil theft crime.

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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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