From Tony John, Port Harcourt
The Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) has expressed worries about the adverse effect of illegal oil bunkering on Nigeria’s economy.
Shell has also declared that oil theft in the Niger Delta is an organised crime that involves high and experienced individuals in the society.
Head, Corporate Relations Nigeria & Director, SPDC of Nigeria Limited, Igo Weli, stated this in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, yesterday, during an SPDC JV engagement with journalists on crude theft, pipeline vandalism and illegal refineries with theme: ‘Curbing the menace of illegal refineries and crude theft.’
Weli said illegal refineries and crude theft have drastically affected the economy, which has manifested in the low exchange rate and other challenges confronting the country.
According to Weli, illegal refineries and crude theft has gotten worse because the stakeholders in the industry have seen the problem as oil companies’ problem.
He cautioned that if the excesses of oil thieves are not checkmated, government’s budgets for education, health, security and other sectors would be used in cleaning up the polluted environment.
In his presentation, Lead, Right-of-Way and Encroachment, Shell, John Okojie, said oil thieves invest much resources in the illegal business, and equip themselves with sophisticated weapons.
According to him, the level of economic sabotage caused by oil bunkers to Nigeria economy was alarming and disturbing.
He said: “People invest heavily in the business and the people who are involved in this illegal refineries are people who have experience in the industry…”