The Nigeria Upstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission’s monthly reports show that Nigeria lost a huge amount of revenue as a result of massive oil theft between January and August this year.

Nigeria lost about 13.21 million barrels of crude oil with an estimated worth of N603.64bn between January and August this year, an analysis of the monthly reports of the country’s crude oil and condensate production showed.

Figures contained in the reports, obtained from the Nigeria Upstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission in Abuja on Sunday, indicated that the country’s oil production only increased in two months, but crashed in others.

Total crude oil production (without condensates) in January, for instance, was 43.35 million barrels, but this dropped to 35.22 million barrels in February, indicating a loss of 8.13 million barrels.

It moved up in March, increasing by 3.14 million barrels to close at 38.36 million barrels in the third month of 2022.

This, however, was not sustained, as production dropped to 36.58 million barrels in April and the country lost 1.78 million barrels in that month.

The losses continued in May after oil production crashed to 31.76 million barrels, representing a loss of 4.82 million barrels when compared to what was produced the preceding month.

It increased in June to 34.75 million barrels, representing an oil production gain of 2.99 million barrels, but that was short-lived, as output fell again in July to 33.6 million barrels, meaning the country lost 1.15 million barrels in July.

The oil production losses persisted in August, crashing further to 30.14 million barrels, representing a loss of 3.46 million barrels.

It was observed that the total losses stood at 19.34 million barrels, while what was gained was 6.13 million barrels, leaving a cumulative loss of 13.21 million barrels during the review period.

For the prices of oil during the same eight-month period, data from countryeconomy.com, an international analytical firm, showed that the average monthly cost of Brent, the global benchmark for crude, was $86.51/barrel in January, $97.13/barrel in February, and $117.25/barrel in March 2022.

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In April, May, June, July, and August 2022, the average costs of a barrel of crude were $104.58, $113.34, $122.71, $111.93, and $100.45 respectively. This implies that the average cost of the commodity in the eight-month period is $106.74/barrel.

By losing 13.21 million barrels and multiplying it by $106.74/barrel, it implies that Nigeria lost about $1.41bn or N603.64bn (as of Sunday’s official exchange rate of N428.1/$), during the eight-month period.

The crash in Nigeria’s oil production has been attributed to the massive oil theft in the Niger Delta, which has been greeted by widespread condemnations and protests by oil workers.

The National Public Relations Officer, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Chief Ukadike Chinedu, told our correspondent that though there might be some inconsistencies in oil theft data, the volume of crude stolen from the country was huge.

He said, “On the quantity of oil being stolen from Nigeria, the various figures you see are all estimated figures. There is no accurate gauge to measure the volumes of crude oil being stolen in this country because we don’t have a standard measuring system.

“But because of the recent incident of a vessel that was intercepted for allegedly trying to steal crude oil from Nigeria, we think that a measurable quantity of our crude oil is not accounted for.”

He added, “I also know that Nigeria is losing a lot of revenue from this oil theft and stakeholders are not happy with the way the cartel who are involved are handling the matter.

“It is therefore pertinent that the Federal Government should come out with a standard measuring instrument that will give the exact number of daily production, export consumption and the amount being reserved, as well as what we channel for local use.”

Last week, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria staged protests in Abuja, Lagos, Kaduna, and Warri, among other locations, to kick against the continued theft of crude oil in Nigeria.

Also, the Executive Secretary, Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiatives, Orji Ogbonnaya-Orji, said in an interview that the 2021 audit report of the oil sector would be ready this year to ascertain the level of oil theft across the country.

“We want to establish the quantity of crude that is produced, how much of that can be accounted for, and how much was stolen. We should establish the amount that was exported, reserved for local consumption and how this was reserved or managed,” he stated.

NNPCL deploys a digital system to curb vandalism

Meanwhile, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited has said it lost 470,000 BPD to crude oil theft, especially those perpetrated in the oil-rich Niger Delta region.

The loss, it said, had hindered it from reaching its production quotas set by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries. This accrues to $700m lost monthly between March and September 2022.

However, the company said it had assembled an array of digital control systems to curb the losses.

The Group General Manager, National Petroleum Investment Management Services, Bala Wunti, disclosed this to journalists in Abuja.

According to Wunti, the pipelines, particularly those around the Bonny terminal, cannot be operated due to the activities of criminals.

He said, “If you’re producing 30,000 barrels a day, every month, you get 1,940 barrels. So, what it means is that you can take it to 270 every four days, calculate it in a month; you will have seven cargos in a million barrels, that’s seven million barrels.”

“When you multiply seven million barrels by $100 that is $700m lost per month, about 150,000 barrels expected have differed, we are not producing due to security challenges.

“The Shell Petroleum Development Company trunk line, TNP transnational pipeline cannot be operated and this has been like this since March 3rd that we put in this. Just take your calculator, 150,000, it means if you want to arrive at one million barrels per day, it means every week as a minimum, basically for one week alone, it’s four cargoes; and four cargoes is four million barrels.

The GGM said the impact of pipeline vandalism has caused low crude oil production, interrupted gas supply, countrywide interruption of distribution of petroleum products, refineries’ downtimes, and increasing instability in the oil and gas market.

“Nigeria will suffer for it; the revenues are impacted, so we can only appeal to them to rein in themselves, the oil theft situation is regrettable. It’s not going on across the whole of the Niger Delta, there are trunk lines that are more impacted, I think the Bonny trunk line ranks highest.

“Our major challenge as a country is our capability to respond and that is as a result of several factors, the terrain as well as some incapacity that we have.”

On the company’s efforts to contain the menace, Wunti said the NNPCL was deploying technology in monitoring the illegal activities around its facilities in the creeks.

“I was in the Saudi Arabia infrastructure twice, and I know what they have. It’s a digital control system; it’s different from our own. The digital control system, it’s like you have the control system of all your assets in one place.”

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