The Adhoc Committee of the House of Representatives Investigating Crude Oil Theft and Loss of Revenue from Oil and Gas Companies Chaired by Rt. Hon Kabiru Alhassan Usman Rurum have continued to unearth stunning revelations of massive oil theft suggesting grave collusion of regulatory agencies and their collaborators in the oil and gas sector.
It is alleged that most of the Marginal Field Operators are aiding oil theft in order to compliment shortfalls in their production. The Committee is seriously beaming its search light on these operators. From the submission of Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) some of the Marginal Field Operators in the Country Includes, Niger Delta Petroleum Resources Limited, Prime Exploration & Production (Operator), Suffolk Petroleum Limited, Oriental Energy Resources Limited, Universal Energy Limited, Prim, e Exploration & Production (Operator), Pillar Oil Limited, Platform Petroleum Limited, Chorus Energy Limited, Millenium Oil and Gas Limited, Brittania U-Nigeria Limited, Network E&P Limited, Waltersmith Petroman Limited (Operator), Morris Petroleum Limited, Midwestern Oil and Gas Limited, Suntrust Oil Company Limited, Frontier Oil Limited, Energia Limited (Operator), Oando Production and Development Limited, Excel Exploration & Producton Limited, Green Energy International Limited,
The Committee have held extensive interrogation and interaction with security agencies and will be engaging intensely the operators of the Marginal Fields, 14 Production Sharing Contract operators and 57 Joint Venture operators in the days ahead.
Some complicit industry operators have boasted that nothing will come out from this House investigation like the previous ones before it. In fact, an official of the Oil Producers Trade Section (OPTS) of the LCCI bragged that if at all the committee manages to submit a report to the House, it will just add to the piled up reports in the shelves like the others.
Findings however, revealed that Rt Hon. Rurum`s led committee may shock the nation with its findings and recommendations. Hon Rurum in his address during the first day of the Committees Public Hearing on Thursday, 7th September 2023 informed Nigerians, that the committee is committed to do a thorough job whose report if implemented will put to an end the fiasco of Oil theft in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, the Adhoc Committee`s investigation have thus far uncovered a seeming massive corruption and collusion of regulatory agencies at the export loading terminals. The Chief culprit of this appears to be the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited.
Investigations have shown that many arrested ocean vessels involved in massive underhand dealings had the tacit approval of NNPC Limited.
To worsen the situation, NNPCL is alleged to have eased out regulatory agencies whose statutory responsibilities at the terminals would have checkmated massive underreporting of actual volume of Nigerians crude oil being exported. Most of these thefts occur offshore and most of Nigeria’s export loading platforms are offshore.
The Committee is also investigating the allegation that many senior serving and retired officers of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Agency (Formerly DPR) may also be complicit as it is alleged that some of them may have vested interests in the Marginal Fields and the abandoned oil wells which litter the entire Niger Delta. From the reports received so far, most of the abandoned and non-decommissioned oil wells and pipelines have escalated incidences of oil theft.
Circumstances surrounding the release of arrested and complicit vessels by prosecuting agencies are also being looked into by the Committee.
The good thing however, is that the Committee as its Chairman stated in his remarks at the continued investigative hearing on Friday, 8th September will not jump into conclusion on any allegation. He assured that the legislative procedure of the hearing meetings presents an opportunity to everyone to make his/her submission to the committee.
Will the Rt. Hon Tajudden Abbas led 10th House be the game changer the country is yearning for to end this debacle, time will tell.
The Hearing of the Committee continues on Tuesday, and NNPC Limited, Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Limited, NIMASA, NIWA, NMDRA, FEDERAL MINISTERS IN CHARHE OF FINANCE, GAS, PETROLEUM RESOURCES, INDUSTRY, TRADE AND INVESTMENT, EFCC, CUSTOMS, FIRS etc are expected to be in attendance.