From Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
The Group Managing Director (GMD), Nigeria National Petroleum Company (NNPC Ltd), Mr Mele Kyari, said he has received death threats as a result of the ongoing reformation in the NNPC.
Kyari made the disclosure yesterday in Abuja, at the Legislative Transparency and Accountability summit organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Anti-Corruption. He said as a result of the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), a lot of changes are ongoing which are affecting the old order. He said the company had taken down several illegal oil refineries affecting the volume of oil production in the country.
Nevertheless, Kyari said he was not bothered about the threats, as he would only die when God says his time is up. The NNPC boss, while noting that the scale of oil theft in the country is enormous, stated that the government was getting results with the private contractor engaged to tackle the challenges, in collaboration with security agencies.
“The issue of crude oil theft… the scale is enormous, we have seen pipelines taken from our main trunk lines to abandoned platforms. We have thousands of illegal refineries that we have taken down in the past 45 months.
“We have seen over 295 illegal connections to our pipelines. Many of them have been there for years. That you have a situation where your production came down to 1.1 million barrels, from 1.8, the reason is that not all of them are stolen.
Let me clear that misconception that the balance is stolen.
“Companies will stop injecting oil into the pipelines the moment they discover it can’t get to the terminal. Therefore, at the peak of production, you lose over 200,000 barrels per day. But once companies discover this production won’t get to the terminal, they will terminate it. So, we are losing up to 700,000 barrels of opportunity.
“In terms of stealing, we have been able to restore two of our trunk lines after the discoveries we have made. We were left with no choice than to involve private security contractors and it works, they are complementing our government security agencies and they have done great work. The navy, army etc, everyone has made contributions.
“Lastly, this industry is in short supply, I have received several death threats. This is the cost of change; when people walk away from things they are used to, to something that’s new, something that will take away value and benefit from them, they will react,” he stated.
Executive Secretary, Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Orji Ogbonaya Orji, has said the country earned a total of $741.74 million from oil and gas and N624 billion from the solid mineral sector between 1999 to 2020.
The NEITI boss noted that from the point of payment and point of receipt, a lot of the revenue disappeared, adding that it is the responsibility of his agency to trace the fund, especially if they are supposed to accrue to the federal government.
He said: “From the work we have done over the years, it was clear to us that between the point of payment and the point of receipt, a lot of revenue in foreign currency develops wings and fly away. and NEITI has the responsibility of tracing where they are, especially if they are monies that ought to accrue to the Federal Government.
“From our records, between 1999 and 2020, Nigeria has earned $741.74 billion from oil and gas alone. From the solid mineral sector, we have already counted in naira, N624 billion has been earned. A forum like this should be strengthened with data, and that is where NEITI will continue to insist that we work with the National Assembly. The National Assembly needs information on what is paid, what is received and what the money is used for, and NEITI has that data.
“The challenge we have at the moment is that data is not being properly used. When we finish our report and send it to the National Assembly, we plead, and we are still pleading that we expect our report to be laid at plenary to be debated. So that in a forum like this, we will be speaking from data, from a point of knowledge.”
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, said over six decades, the oil and gas industry has played a critical role in the economy of Nigeria. He said the industry has provided millions of jobs, directly and indirectly, adding that income from the oil and gas sector has funded the administration of government to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars over the years. He, however, said the world is changing towards a future where the economic value of oil and gas is far diminished from what it used to be.
Earlier, Chairman, House Committee on Anti-Corruption, Shehu Garba, said the oil and gas sector accounts for 80 per cent of Nigeria’s foreign exchange income. He said it also accounts for 50 per cent of the nation’s total revenue, adding that anything that affects the sector, affects the country.