in light of recent figures of missing/stolen crude oil put at 200,000 barrels daily by the NNPC Limited, the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo, late Monday night, stated that it is practically impossible for such a quantity of crude to be stolen daily, given the deployment of Nigerian Navy Ships and other operational platforms spread across the nations maritime domain,
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) and the Ministry of Petroleum provided enormous and shocking but contested oil theft estimates, with the overall estimated quantity of stolen barrels per day being between 200,000 and 400,000 per day.
Vice Admiral AZ Gambo clarified, however, that the data might not have come from oil theft alone, noting that the government agencies were mistakenly attributing/calculating losses due to force majeure and shut-ins as part of oil being stolen. Vice Admiral AZ Gambo was speaking as a guest on Channels TV.
He said, “As much as there is no perfect system, the phenomenon of oil theft and losses must be properly de-conflicted in order to profer lasting solutions to the malaise which is currently bedevilling our economic resources.
“We need to understand the differences between oil theft and of course, oil loss. While oil theft is siphoning oil from vandalised pipes into barges, oil losses occur when there is non-production, especially during shut-ins and force majeure as the federal government does not earn the desired revenue it should”.
The CNS went on to explain that while authorities frequently add the volume of crude oil shut-ins from non-production to oil theft statistics rather than classifying them as oil losses, oil losses could also be caused by metering errors on the operational platforms.
“This should not be. Some sources also claim that about 20,000 to 200,000 barrels per day are being considered stolen. Most of these claims are definitely outrageous and they are unrealistic,” he insisted.
Admiral Gambo emphasized that it would be nearly impossible to steal such a large amount of oil without being noticed, he said, “Let us even briefly analyze this. For instance, 100,000 barrels of crude oil is equivalent to 15,800,000 liters of crude, which requires a five-ton barge making 3,160 trips per day to convey this product out of the creeks.
“How do you pass the estuaries with this? So, let’s assume now you even have many barges because of the time required to carry out this product. That means you entirely close the navigable waters heading out to sea, through the estuaries, to embark them or to transit them into a mother vessel that will eventually take them out of the country.
“Of course, this is most unlikely considering the heightened presence of security agencies in the maritime environment as well as the launch of the subsisting operations by the Nigerian Navy, including of course, the deployment of the maritime domain awareness facilities”.
Remember that many Nigerians recently questioned reports of massive crude oil thefts in the country’s maritime domain and questioned whether the Navy was complicit in the oil theft, which had made it difficult for the country to produce the 65% of its allocation or quota by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
The Naval Chief noted that in the last four weeks the Navy has discovered a number of vessels trying to load crude and liquefied natural gas within offshore terminals without the necessary documentation and approval from the relevant authorities like the NNPCL while maintaining that efforts have been intensified to detain and foil crude oil theft.
He highlighted a few of these incidents that have happened in the previous four to five weeks, such as the detention of the LNG supertanker MT Arabia, which arrived in the nation on July 12 to load liquefied natural gas without the necessary documentation.
The MT Trinity Arrow was likewise stopped for entering without the proper authorization; however, it wasn’t until its paperwork was revised on July 12 that it was given permission to load LNG.
The most recent, according to him, is the supertanker MT HEROIC, which is 336 meters long and 60 meters broad.
“Imagine the size of three football fields and 1/3 more. It has the capacity of carrying 3 million barrels”.
As a result, the CNS informed Gambo that negotiations were ongoing to ensure the handover of the super tanker MT Heroic so that its conduct and the reason it accused the Nigerian Navy of being sea pirates could be thoroughly investigated.