Nigeria lost N16.25 trillion to crude oil theft between 2009 and 2020, according to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas.

The Speaker, who made this disclosure while inaugurating the ad hoc committee to investigate crude oil theft and loss of revenue in Abuja on Thursday, said the menace of crude oil theft had hampered the growth of the country’s oil production, with between 5 percent and 30 percent of crude oil production lost daily, NAN reports.

He said that critical agencies in the oil and gas sector like the Nigeria National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Ltd, Nigeria Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), Ministry of Petroleum Resources, among others failed to honour invitation.

If decisive action is not taken to address the issue, the country may be thrown into a deeper fiscal crisis given the dwindling revenue from the oil and gas sector, said Abbas, who was represented by the Chairman, House Committee on Petroleum Upstream, Al-Hassan Ado-Doguwa.

He quoted data from the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), saying the country’s oil production declined from 2.51 million barrels per day in 2005 to 1.77 million barrels per day in 2020.

“NEITI reports also show that 619 million barrels of crude valued at $46 billion were stolen in the period 2009 to 2020,″ he said, adding that Nigeria had continually failed to meet its daily production quota as set by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Abbas said Nigeria’s OPEC quota was receently reduced from 1.742 million barrels per day to 1.38 million barrels per day.

“Yet, the country is still struggling to meet this quota as daily production output was 1.184 million barrels per day and 1.249 million barrels per day in May and June 2023, respectively,” Abbas said.

“On the average, current daily production output is a far cry from the budget assumption of 1.69 million per day. The implication is clearly manifest in the economic crisis that the country is facing,” he said.

He said Nigeria had been facing a major fiscal crisis, with global recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing Russia/Ukraine war continuing to cast a cloud of uncertainty on the oil and gas industry.

The Chairman of the newly inaugurated Ad-hoc Committee, Al-hassa Runrum, said the volume of losses to oil theft in the country and its associated impact on the economy was unacceptable.

He said this would not be tolerated by any government that sincerely loves its citizens, adding that such act of sabotage and breach on the nation’s security and sovereignty makes a caricature of the nation’s pride

“It is an affront on the government and its institutions, which must be tackled without further delay,” he said.

Runrum said the committee was determined to bring the ugly trend to an end, otherwise there might be no future for “our children who have not yet ‘japaed’ to other countries in search of survival”.