The Federal Government’s plan to resolve the nagging challenge of resource theft is gaining traction as the National Executive Council (NEC) Committee on Crude Oil Theft and Management held its inaugural meeting in Abuja on Wednesday.

Following the meeting, the committee resolved to restore Nigeria’s oil production profile and improve on it.

Although estimates of how much oil is stolen per day in Nigeria vary, the British think tank Chatham House reports that over 100,000 barrels of oil are estimated to be stolen per day. Other sources however estimate that as much as 400,000 barrels of crude are stolen daily.

Nigeria’s upstream oil regulator recently announced an annual oil and condensates production target of 2.6 million barrels per day (bpd) by 2026, an ambitious jump from 2023 levels of around 1.6 million bpd.

Industry watchers say that an increase in production and retention would create leeway for higher crude supplies to local refiner, the Dangote Petroleum Refinery, expected to kick-off production in the days to come, having taken stock of a sixth tranche of one million barrels of crude from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) plc.

This, they say, will allow for sustained refined products generation and supplies.

Africa’s biggest oil exporter, Nigeria has suffered declining production due to crude theft and vandalism of pipelines in the Niger Delta as well as low investment in the sector, which has hit government revenue.

The meeting of the NEC Committee on Crude Oil Theft held at the Imo Government Lodge in Abuja. The committee developed an action plan and roadmap to be used to confront crude oil theft head on and resolved to identify areas of leakages, likely causes, as well as means and measures of stemming the tide of theft.

Related News

Hope Uzodinma, Governor of Imo State, who is chairman of the committee, said after the meeting that the body would make a difference and gain traction towards national development.

Also present at the meeting, were governors Sheriff Oborevwori (Delta), Lucky Aiyetadiwa (Ondo), Bassey Otu (Cross River), Mai Bala Buni (Yobe) and Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, who is Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State,.

Members of the committee after its reconstitution in December are the Governor of Ogun State representing South-West; Governor of Plateau State (North-Central); Governor of Rivers (South-South); Governor of Borno (North-East); Governor of Jigawa State (North-West); Governor of Abia State (South-East); Minister of Budget and Economic Planning; Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy; CBN Governor; GCEO of NNPCL, NDDC Chairman, and Service Chiefs.

Uzodinma said, “You recall that last month December, 2023 the National Executive Council (NEC) met and, among other deliberations, reconstituted the Committee Against Crude Oil Theft and this is consistent with growing concern of stakeholders on this menace called crude oil theft that has reduced our production status drastically and has caused untold hardship to the country and almost resurfacing margin of our currency.

“Today (Wednesday), we had the first meeting since after the reconstitution to develop a work plan that will be used to be able to confront this case of crude oil theft head on. It is my hope that going by our deliberations, we will be able to make the difference as our own contribution towards national development.

“We just develop a roadmap, an action plan, it is an action stage of preliminary. We are trying to identify the areas of leakages and the likely causes and what has been made possible.

“But our concern which is the concern of all Nigerians is to restore the Nigerian oil production profile to either better than what it used to be or at best where it was and we are committed not to disappoint the expectations of the National Economic Council.”