The Nigeria Executive Industries Transparency Initiatives (NEITI) have indicated that $41.9bn worth of crude oil and refined products were stolen from the country in the last 10 years.

In its quest to combat the growing menace of crude oil and petroleum products theft across the nation, NEITI urged the government to embrace oil fingerprinting technology, the comprehensive metering infrastructure of all facilities and other creative strategies.It said these in a policy brief released recently.

A breakdown by the organisation showed that the nation lost $38.5bn on crude theft alone, $1.56bn on domestic crude and another $1.8bn on refined petroleum products between 2009 and 2018.

NEITI expressed concerns that in the face of current dwindling revenues, paying priority attention to curb oil theft in the country’s oil and gas industry had become both necessary and urgent to expand revenue generation.

The report further disclosed that Nigeria lost an average of $11m daily, which translated to $349m in a month and about $4.2bn annually to crude and product losses arising from stealing, process lapses and pipeline vandalism.

It said, “While figures from government put the loss at between 150,000 and 250,000 barrels per day, data from private studies estimated the figure to be between 200,000 and 400,000bpd.

“This implies that Nigeria may be losing up to a fifth of its daily crude oil production to oil thieves and pipeline vandals.”

On comparative analysis of the size and implication of the losses to the country’s current dwindling revenue profile, NEITI renewed its appeal to the government to curb oil theft to reduce budget deficits and external borrowing.

The transparency agency stated that the value of crude oil and allied products so far lost was equal to the size of Nigeria’s entire foreign reserves.

“Stemming this haemorrhage and leakages should be an urgent priority for Nigeria at a time of dwindling revenues and increasing needs,” the report stated.

According to the NEITI report, what the country lost in 20 months in fiscal terms was enough to finance the proposed budget deficit for 2020.

It said that what the nation lost in 15 months would be enough to cover the total proposed borrowing or increased capital budget by 100 percent.

NEITI added “In terms of volume, 138.000 barrels of crude oil were lost every day for the past 10 years, representing seven percent of the average production of two million bpd.

“Nigeria lost more than 505 million barrels of crude oil and 4.2 billion litres of petroleum products between 2009 and 2018.

“What is stolen, spilled or shut-in represents lost revenue, which ultimately translates to services that the government cannot provide for citizens already in dire need of critical public goods.”

The report further identified other effects of oil theft on the nation to include pipeline vandalism, criminal sabotage and illegal refineries in oil-producing communities.

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