Kidnappers, Pirates, Crude Oil Thieves threat to Oil and Gas operations
Crude oil theft and illegal oil bunkering in the Gulf of Guinea has become a major source of concern to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke on bemoaned the rising episodes of insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea resulting in ceaseless cases of hijacking, unauthorized vessel boarding and kidnapping in the region.
Mrs. Alison-Madueke stated this at the First Nigerian Navy Offshore Patrol Vessel Africa Conference (OPV)in Lagos.
Describing the situation as unacceptable, the Petroleum Resources Minister who was represented by the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Engr. Andrew Yakubu, noted that crude oil theft and illegal oil bunkering in the Gulf of Guinea has become a major source of concern to the Federal Government.
According to the US Naval Intelligence Report, the region in the first half of 2013 witnessed nine hijacking incidents in addition to 55 incidents of unauthorized vessel boarding, vessels fired upon and kidnappings this year, Alison-Madueke revealed.
The Minister emphasized that maritime security is not only essential to maintaining the flow of revenue from oil and gas but also impacts greatly on the region’s broader economic development adding that maritime resources such as fish, aquaculture and an intact ecosystem directly contribute to the livelihood of many Africans.
Providing a breakdown of oil and gas operations in the region, Mrs. Alison-Madueke noted that the Gulf of Guinea consists of 15 countries with oil production exceeding 5.4 million barrels per day in 2012 stressing that oil supply from the Gulf of Guinea region in 2011 was equivalent to 27 percent of EU consumption and 29% of total US petroleum consumption in the same year.
The Minister stated that Nigeria and Angola account for 47% and 34% of total Gulf of Guinea oil supply respectively. Mrs. Alison-Madueke said it is extremely important that Gulf of Guinea Countries and their allies collaborate to police the sea lanes of the Gulf of Guinea, noting that disruptions in crude oil supply not only affect countries such as Nigeria but ultimately have an impact on the global economy.
While calling for increased domestic efforts in addressing the menace, the Petroleum Resources Minister noted that addressing illegal crude oil bunkering is multidimensional and requires multilateralism. Mrs. Alison-Madueke added that resurrecting the Gulf of Guinea security protocol and collaboration with Nigeria and other Gulf of Guinea countries will go a long way in addressing the maritime security issues.
In his opening remarks, the Chairman of the occasion Retired Rear Admiral Alison Madueke said the increasing spate of maritime insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea has led to the loss of several billions of dollars in revenue to the national economy.
The Three Day conference with the theme: Delivering Maritime Security to Africa was attended by Navy formations from the Gulf of Guinea countries with presentations from local and international resource persons.
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