Nigeria lost 130 million barrels of crude oil worth about N3trillion or almost half the 2016 budget, using estimates of $50 per barrel and exchange rate of N470/$ between January and October 2016 BusinessDay has learnt.
Shina Bankole, general manager, security, Chevron Nigeria Limited, stated this in a speech on addressing the burden of securing the Nigerian Oil and Gas industry at the plenary session of an oil and gas health and safety conference that took place in Lagos on November 28.
“As at today, 58 incidents of sabotage have been recorded in the Niger Delta wherein assets and facilities belonging to oil and gas companies have been vandalised, and about 130million barrels of crude have been lost due to inability of oil and gas companies to produce, as a result of attacks,” Bankole said.
He further said “No fewer than 32 militants groups have emerged in the Niger Delta in the last one year alone.”
As a result of the upsurge of militancy, Bankole said that facilities have been vandalised, crude production has been shut-in, personnel have been abducted and environment have been subjected to degradation.
A panel session including representatives from the security forces, oil and gas companies and the government, were tasked with recommending pragmatic actions to curtail the problem but it soon morphed into discussing their challenges in resolving the issue.
“We do not get the resources to match the mandate we have been given,” said Rear Admiral Joseph Okogie, Commander JTF (Operation Delta Safe) who was on the panel, “Why is it difficult to get a drone? We lack swamp boogies and other resources needed to go after these elements.”
Kingsley Otuaro, deputy governor of Delta state, who moderated the panel, took issues with the security officers on the panel that included representative of the Navy and Nigerian Security and Civil Defence, who he said had poor community relations and were bombing barges laden with stolen or illegal refined crude, increasing environmental degradation.
“We want to have better relations with the community and we can carry out our job better if the community help us identify the sponsors of these vandals so we can go after them,” said Rear Admiral Fergusson Ducas Bobai, who represented Vice-Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas, chief of naval staff, Nigerian Navy.
He said the swampy nature of locations around Mosimi and Arepo makes it impossible to come in with large boats and coming in with canoes coveying few personnel is exposing them to attacks by vandals.
Edmund Daukoru, traditional ruler of Nembe Kingdom, had strong words for the Niger Delta, saying that the sympathy of the rest of Nigeria will soon run out unless the senseless bombings were stopped.
“For the people of the Niger Delta, the Federal Government has created 13 percent derivation, the state governments get some of the highest allocations, there is the ministry of Niger Delta and the Niger Delta Development Commission, with billions allocated to them, why are we not asking questions about what they are doing with them?” asked Daukoru.
The panel members agree that a military solution was out of the question, as Nigeria’s over 6,000 kilometres cannot be successfully manned by the security agencies. They called for deep efforts beyond tokenism from oil and gas companies as necessary steps to curb militancy.
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