As Nigeria continues to struggle with oil theft, Chief Timipre Sylva, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources estimates that there are roughly 265 illegal refineries in just the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) corridor.
Sylva spoke at the 60th Anniversary of the Oil Producers Trade Section (OPTS) of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) on Thursday in Lagos.
The minister claimed that oil theft and vandalism have caused Nigeria to produce less than one million barrels of crude oil per day.
He was represented by Kamaru Busari, Acting Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Resources.
When oil prices were sky-high on the global market, Sylva claimed that the nation's inability to satisfy its Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) quota had prevented it from receiving much-needed oil money.
Nevertheless, he said, in order to increase investor confidence in the industry, the government was working with host communities, security organisations, and technology to address the problem.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd. (NNPCL) Group Chief Executive Officer, Malam Mele Kyari, said the company was aware of the current issues, including security in the operational regions and the settlement of cash call arrears.
However, Kyari, represented by Dapo Segun, Deputy General Manager, Treasury, NNPCL, insisted that the business was tenacious and would collaborate with other stakeholders to address the security issues.
“We have deployed creative solutions to tackle security challenges in the operational areas.
“Technological intervention for both monitoring and prompt intervention would also be set up.
"The tackling of the menace is a top priority for NNPCL.
“Also, our new governance framework provides us autonomy and opportunity for self-accounting hence cash-call settlement including arrears would be settled and handled promptly going forward.”
Rick Kennedy, Chairman of OPTS, stated earlier in his welcome speech that OPTS had over the previous 60 years made major contributions to the growth of the Nigerian oil and gas industry.
Kennedy, through Vice Chairman of OPTS Osagie Okunbor, said
OPTS participants had shown tenacity and dedication in the face of funding, economic, security, and environmental difficulties.
“We have continued to make significant contributions to Nigeria’s development.
“As a group, OPTS member companies account for about 90 per cent of Nigeria's oil production and contribute significantly to the domestic and export gas production and supply.
“Over the last decade, OPTS member companies accounted for 40-60 per cent of government revenue and 85 to 95 per cent of export earnings.
“OPTS member companies are also proud to have paid tens of billions of dollars in taxes, levies, royalties, rents, and license fees to the Nigerian government.”
In addition, approximately 600,000 direct and indirect jobs for Nigerians were created by OPTS firms, according to Kennedy, who is also the Managing Director of the Chevron Nigeria/Mid-Africa Business Unit.
The 29 companies that were members of the OPTS were also acknowledged by Bunmi Toyobo, Executive Director, for their contributions to the organization's successes over the previous 60 years.
“This celebration is to demonstrate our abiding faith in Nigeria as a group and belief in the boundless growth potential of our country, given the enabling environment,” he said.
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