Nigeria’s oil company, NNPC Limited, says its engagement with private security is paying off in the quest to end crude oil theft in the country.
The Chief Executive Officer of the company, Mele Kyari, made the declaration at a summit on Legislative Transparency and Accountability with the theme ‘Enhancing Transparency and Accountability in the Oil and Gas Sector: Challenges and Prospects’.
For several years, Nigeria’s oil and gas sector has been synonymous with opacity.
Until 2018, the accounts of the NNPC had been shrouded in secrecy in violation of the Act establishing it.
Generally, the operations of many government agencies in the oil and gas sector were kept away from public scrutiny, giving room for corruption.
The summit is one of the contributions of the House of Representatives at helping to eradicate graft and make the sector more efficient, especially in view of the new Petroleum Industry Act.
For the NNPC Limited, crude theft remains a huge challenge in Nigeria with about 60 per cent of the nation’s revenue being lost to the vice.
But it acknowledges some breakthrough with the engagement of private security guards on contracts to guard the pipelines and also reduce and ultimately stop Crude oil Theft.
So far, two trunks of Pipelines have been restored but the NNPC also raises the alarm on threats to life as a result of the renewed fight against crude oil theft.
Discarding confidential clauses in contract agreements, consistent and Transparent Audit of NNPC Limited and regular audit of its physical assets, are some of the suggestions made to attain transparency and accountability in the oil and gas sector.
The Issue of Crude Oil theft has been a major problem since the discovery of oil in Nigeria according to experts but it has become an hydra headed monster especially since the return of democratic governance to Nigeria in 1999.
The problem has become more pronounced since 2015 with the cancellation of Pipeline Protection contract by the Corporation and attendant lack of proper monitoring of what is going on in the sector.
A renewed move to stop the haemorrhaging of the nations’ wealth has helped in reducing the level of stealing and increase production output to one million barrels per day for the first in several weeks.