The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has revealed to the Senate that 48 million barrels of crude oil were not missing in the country as widely reported.

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The issue of the alleged missing barrels of crude oil and an unapproved yearly budget of the corporation came up during an interactive session that officials of the NNPC had with the Senate Joint Committee on Finance and National Planning on projected revenues estimated in the 2021-2023 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper.

The Chairman of the committee, Senator Solomon Adeola, had demanded evidence and not verbal denial.

The Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mele Kyari, who was represented by the Chief Finance Officer, Umar Ajiya, stated that there were no records of ships that sailed out with such contrabands.

He also revealed that the Nigerian Navy and the Directorate of Petroleum Resources did not give any clearance for such shipment.

He said, “No ship leaves the country without clearance from the appropriate unit of the Nigerian Navy and there is no way any ship with such alleged stolen crude could escape from the Nigerian shore.

He said, “As far as the NNPC is concerned, no barrel of crude oil is missing as falsely alleged.

“We are very ready to be investigated over it in the form of commissioning of a forensic audit by the National Assembly at its own cost.”

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The NNPC Finance Officer remarked that the corporation’s yearly budget was usually scrutinised and approved by the National Assembly.

He said, “Proposals such as our revenue projections and cost of operations are well stated in all MTEF/FSP documents made available to National Assembly for consideration and approval.

“It was on the basis upon which the nation’s budget is passed and signed into law, meaning that it is you (National Assembly) that approves our yearly budget.”

He explained further that the $21per barrel production cost the corporation was incurring on each barrel of crude oil would soon be reduced to $13 per barrel in drastically minimising production cost.

On the $40 per barrel projected as an oil price benchmark for the N12.6tn 2021 budget, the NNPC CFO said the projection was arrived at based on available variables.