This disclosure was made during the Nigeria International Pipeline Technology and Security Conference in Abuja, themed 'Bolstering Regulations, Technology, and Security for Growth,' and organized by the Pipeline Professionals Association of Nigeria.
The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), a government agency, delivered a presentation at the conference, emphasizing that oil theft and losses in Nigeria had reached a critical national emergency level.
Ogbonnaya Orji, the Executive Secretary of NEITI, expressed deep concerns, stating that oil theft presented a severe threat to oil exploration and exploitation. He further pointed out the significant adverse impact on economic growth, business prospects, and profit earnings of oil companies.
Citing data from NEITI's reports to support his assertions, Orji stated, "NEITI disclosed that in the last five years, from 2017 to 2021, Nigeria witnessed 7,143 incidents of pipeline breakages and deliberate vandalism, resulting in the theft of 208.639 million barrels valued at $12.74 million or N4.325 trillion."
“NEITI reports also disclosed that during the same period Nigeria spent N471.493bn to either repair or maintain pipelines.”
Orji pointed out that from NEITI’s 2021 Oil and Gas Industry Report released in September, the sector accounted for 72.26 per cent of Nigeria’s total export and government’s foreign exchange, 40.55 per cent of government revenue, and provided 19,171 jobs.
“However, for us in NEITI, it is not a matter of debate that despite the strategic contributions, the country is yet to derive optimal benefits from its oil and gas resources due to oil theft and losses through pipeline vandalism, pipeline integrity compromise, outright sabotage, and general insecurity in the region.
“From NEITI’s reports over the years, and recently insights from our membership of the Special Investigative Panel on Oil Theft and Losses, we are aware that oil theft is perpetrated mainly through pipeline clamping, illegal connections on major pipelines, exploitation of abandoned oil wellheads, pipeline breakages and vandalism of key national assets to illegally siphon crude into waiting vessels stationed in strategic terminals.