Complicity of the IOCs in Nigeria's crude oil theft
The Nigerian Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Usman Jibrin, has accused International Oil Companies (IOCs) of aiding and abetting all forms of criminality in the nation’s maritime sector, especially crude oil theft, illegal bunkering and piracy.
Jibrin stated this recently in Abuja during a meeting with chief executives of the IOCs at the naval headquarters’ conference room to discuss issues on crude oil theft, pipeline vandalism and other related crimes in the nation’s maritime sector.
He expressed anger and frustration over the failure of most oil companies to treat the meeting with the seriousness it deserved, saying that it was meant to find solutions to the aforementioned challenges that had eaten deeply into the fabric of country’s economy.
He however noted that he had limitations as to what he could do with the oil companies, since they are not directly under his control.
“But I have decided that I will take some steps such that if a manifold, for instance, is open for years and our attention is drawn to the need for its closure and the companies who own these oil wells are not taking appropriate action, we shall look for them and start arresting them as we are not only losing crude oil but also revenue that is meant to accrue to the government.
“You also pollute the environment and you want to continue to do business in our various communities unhindered, unmolested, and to the extent that youths will not protest. So we must work assiduously together to get the synergy and the desired result to curb oil theft,” he added.
Managing Director of Pipeline Product Marketing Company (PPMC), Haruna Momoh, identified five major five states where vandals carry out their operations often refer to as ‘Hot Spots’ to include; Gombe, Kaduna, Mosimi, Port Harcourt and Warri in Delta states.
He however lamented some constrains in the legal and regulatory frame work in enforcing punishment against pipeline vandals.
“Under the Nigerian Legal system, the police, upon arrest of suspects are only empowered to commence criminal proceedings at the magistrate courts.
“The law against pipeline vandalism specify prosecution at the Federal High Court. This has created difficult situation for prosecution to proceed diligently. “There is a need to amend the laws to allow speed prosecution of suspect.
“PPMC cannot privately pursue the prosecution of criminal matter without obtaining of FIAT from the office of the Attorney General of the Federation ?”The Oil Pipeline Act, Cap 338 of 1990 and the oil pipeline regulation which are made pursuant to the act does not establish sanction for the violation of pipelines or disruption of the distribution of crude oil or refined petroleum products, “ he lamented.
He reiterated that the Federal Government needs to develop a national plan for critical infrastructure and key resources protection similar to the United States National Infrastructure Protection Plan to secure the nation’s pipelines.
Obviously all the law enforcement agencies in the country have to work together to solve this problem. As the ‘Nigerian Local Content Law’takes hold in the Nigerian oil industry we believe the desire to protect the pipelines by the heavily indebted local oil companies will drastically reduce oil theft in the country. Oilandgaspress feels that the locals will be better positioned to tackle fellow Nigerian without worrying about international focus on methods employed.
Nigerian Local Content Law
The Act, which became operational in 2010, gave Nigerian oil companies the leverage to be given first consideration in the award of contracts in virtually every area in the sector, including oil blocks, oil field licences, oil lifting licences, in addition to being considered for award of contracts in all projects for which they have demonstrable competences and proven capability in the oil and gas industry.
The Act says there shall be exclusive consideration to Nigerian indigenous service companies which demonstrate ownership of equipment, Nigerian personnel and capacity to execute such work to bid on land and swamp-operating areas of the Nigerian oil and gas industry for contracts and services contained in the Schedule to this Act.