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Declare national emergency on oil theft, NUPRC tells FG

The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) has asked the federal government to declare an emergency on the country’s oil and industry due to oil theft and underproduction.

Gbenga Komolafe, chief executive officer (CEO), NUPRC, made this known on Thursday while delivering his keynote address at the Association of Energy Correspondents of Nigeria (NAEC) strategic international conference in Lagos.

The event is themed “Energy Transition: “Shaping the Future of Nigeria’s Energy Industry, an Appraisal of PIA, Evolving Benefits and Challenges”.

Komolafe, represented by Abel Nsa, director of the National Oil and Gas Excellence Centre (NOGEC), an arm of the commission, said the challenges restraining optimal production in the form of crude oil theft and sabotage were still with the country despite several efforts made by the commission and the government.

“The imperative is on Nigeria to declare some sort of emergency for the oil and gas industry. Aside from energy transition, other issues bedevil our industry — such as oil theft, security, ageing and decaying infrastructure, amongst others,” he said.

“All these contribute to high production costs, which must be minimised. The commission, in line with the spirit of the PIA, will champion urgent access to the industry for all serious-minded players so that unexplored reserves can be tapped into to derive value for investors as well as for Nigeria.”

Komolafe said the commission had developed initiatives to reduce the menace of oil theft to the barest minimum in the short run and eventual elimination in the long run.

He listed such initiatives as the roadmap for tackling the security challenges through identifying and implementing areas of collaboration between the government and operators, ensuring that operators realise their full production potential.

He added that other areas include collaboration with top-ranking security forces for a robust security framework that ensures they provide pipeline and asset security.

Other measures listed include the implementation of security protocols and an enlightenment campaign on the dangers associated with crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism.

In June, Gbenga Komolafe said Nigeria lost at least $1 billion in the first quarter of 2022 due to oil theft.

The presidency had said it would soon reveal the identities of high-profile Nigerians behind oil theft.

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