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Minister of state petroleum says FG is working on reducing oil theft



Minister of State Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva

The Minister of State Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, has placed the blame for reduced revenue from the nation’s oil and gas sector at the feet of vandals and thieves. 

With Nigeria’s debt already hitting N77 trillion due to the foreign exchange scarcity which is usually gotten from the oil sector combined with other economic indicators to widen the disparity between naira and other major currencies to record high, the dismal outlook from the oil sector remains a critical contributor to the failing economic situation in the country.

Sylva, in a statement release,  insisted that the Federal Government was determined to end the trend through improved investments and security along the major oil and gas pipelines in the Niger Delta region.

He opposed the fact  that 40 percent of the volumes of crude losses did not come from measurement inaccuracies, as claimed in the public.

Sylva claimed the major sources of crude oil losses have primarily been theft, pipeline vandalism and production deferment as a result of pipeline non-availability.

“It is a known fact that the major losses of crude oil in the country have been through theft and destruction of oil pipelines. Again we also know that some of the oil infrastructure are old and decayed and cannot perform at maximum capacity. And there is also the issue of lack of investments in fossil fuel in the country and the drive towards renewable energy has really hampered new investments in this sector,” he said.

The minister said the Government has put measures in place to restore sanity in the sector adding that contrary to the report, the problem associated with crude oil losses are systemic issues that the government was already handling with a view to finding permanent solutions to.

Sylva therefore urged the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) and the Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) to harmoniously work together to ensure that the constraints and impending challenges in the optimal crude oil production volume were speedily addressed to boost national revenue.

He said the Federal Government cannot continue to lose revenue through perceived lapses in crude oil production, especially at this very critical period of scarce revenue for the nation emphasising that this was not the time to dwell on the mistakes of the past or engaged in needless blame games but a time to work to close all existing leakages to enable government to get maximum benefits from its crude oil and gas assets.

While expressing satisfaction at the improved security along the major oil pipelines in the region, Sylva called for sustained efforts by all concerned to maintain maximum crude oil production.

“We are very confident that Nigeria will achieve a two-million barrel per day crude oil production target very soon. The government is doing everything possible to get to where we should be and everyone is working hard to achieve this,” the minister said.

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