Crude oil theft may have cost the country an enormous N1.9tn in revenue loss in July.
The estimate was reached when the National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu, led a presidential delegation to tour oil and gas installations at Owaza in Abia and Rivers State last week.
According to Ribadu, Nigeria is losing 400,000 barrels of crude oil every day due to the operations of oil thieves and pipeline vandals.
He went on to say that the country was capable of producing 2 million barrels of crude oil per day.
“It is unfortunate that a few individuals would steal our common resources, causing incredible loss to the country, communities, and people,” Ribadu added.
“Nigeria has the capacity to produce two million barrels of crude oil per day, but we are currently producing less than 1.6 million barrels due to pipeline theft and vandalism.”
“So, we’re talking about 400,000 barrels of crude oil going to waste, with a few criminals and economic saboteurs not even getting much out of it,” he explained.
Data from the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ August report revealed that the country’s July crude oil output, as reported by direct sources such as the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited and the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, was one million barrels per day.
According to the OPEC August report, Nigeria’s oil grade, Bonny Light, was sold for $80 a barrel in July, against which all other crude grades produced by the country were priced. In July, the currency rate versus the US dollar was similarly N777/$1.
The total revenue loss due to crude oil theft in July was N1.9tn.
An economist at Olabisi Onabanjo University, Sheriffdeen Tella, stated that the economic picture for this year would be grim unless Nigeria improved its crude oil production.
“The global outlook for oil and gas in 2023 will be similar to that of last year, Nigeria’s revenue prospects may remain bleak unless we can boost and sustain production, avoid revenue leakages and crude oil thefts, and seek new markets for oil and gas.”