NEITI threatens action against oil firms over $6.4bn debt
NEITI

The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has welcomed the decision of the federal government to set up a Special Investigative Panel on Oil Theft and Losses in Nigeria.

A statement by NEITI released today in Abuja described the decision as bold, courageous and timely given the havoc oil theft has wrecked in oil production and the country’s revenue generation.

To underline the seriousness of the Oil Theft Investigation Panel, NEITI disclosed that from its industry reports, Nigeria has lost 619.7 million barrels of crude oil valued at $46.16 Billion or N16.25Trillion in twelve years from (2009 to 2020). The losses were from theft and sabotage, based on information and data provided by an average of eight companies covered by NEITI process over the years.

A breakdown of the losses shows that in 2009 when NEITI commenced reporting of crude oil theft, Nigeria lost 69.49 million barrels valued at $4.31billion. The figures for 2010, 2011 and 2012 revealed that 28.31million, 38.61million and 51.58 million barrels which were valued at $2.29billion, $4.39billion and $5.82billion were lost respectively.

The NEITI oil & gas industry reports for 2013 to 2020 also showed that the losses to crude oil theft did not abate as 78.30million barrels valued at $8.55billion was lost in 2013 alone.

2014 and 2015 witnessed combined losses of 67.29 million barrels valued at $5.57billion.

According to the NEITI reports, 2016 recorded the highest losses of 101.05 million barrels that was valued at $4.42billion.

Between 2017 & 2020, the NEITI reports indicated losses of 36.46million barrel ($1.99 billion) in 2017, 53.281 ($3.837billion) in 2018, 42.248million barrels ($2.772billion) in 2019 and 53.056million barrels ($2.21billion) in 2020.

The combined value of these losses is 619.7 million barrels amounting to $46.16billion over a twelve year period.

NEITI lamented that it was regrettable that at a time Nigeria’s economy is largely dependent on oil revenues, some Nigerians would choose to collude with foreign nationals to steal and sabotage the main sources of revenue for the federation.

The Agency particularly expressed delight over the new collaboration between Offices of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and that of the National Security Adviser in coordinating the investigations and its wisdom to appoint NEITI in this Special Panel. This is in view of the Agency’s strategic relevance to guide the Panel with reliable information and data.

NEITI in the statement also explained that as an agency with legitimate interests and mandates in enthroning transparency and accountability in the oil and gas sector, it will seek technical support where necessary from 57 member countries of the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative to help tackle the international dimension of oil theft in the work of the investigative panel.

NEITI further disclosed that after a careful review of the Terms of Reference of the Panel on Oil Theft Investigation, it found the terms of reference of the Committee, comprehensive, incisive, and attainable.

The Panel is among other things required to establish the ramifications of crude oil theft/losses in Nigeria; ascertain the causative factors immediate and remote of crude oil theft/ losses in the country; with the widest possible amplitude, identify persons/entities whether public, private or foreign, involved in the criminal enterprise; Ascertain the illegal insertion into the Trans Escravos Pipelines (TEP) around Yokri area in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State.

Other recommendations in the Terms of Reference are to establish the level of culpability of identified persons/entities in the enterprise; Examine the specific roles of Regulatory Agencies; Security Agencies Tiers/Arms of Government and International Oil Companies(IOCs) in aiding and abating the criminal enterprise; Assess the efficacy of the security architecture/arrangement in tackling crude oil theft/losses and associated petroleum products and recommend appropriate, commensurate and sufficiently, deterrent sanctions on all those culpable. The Panel is also expected to recommend steps, procedures, and processes to be taken by the government to eliminate the enterprise in the industry to prevent future occurrences.

NEITI gave the assurances that working with other members of the Panel who have been carefully selected to carry out the oil theft investigation, the agency will rely more on its multi-stakeholders to support the work of the Committee.

NEITI, therefore, appealed to civil society, the media, development partners and extractive companies to devote time, energy, and resources to provide reliable information and data to the oil theft investigation panel through the open call for submissions of Memoranda from individuals and as groups to the Panel.

In a related development, NEITI National Stakeholders Working Group (NSWG), has renewed its call to the Federal Government to establish a similar Special Investigation Panel on the Glencore Bribery Scandal some Nigerian government officials in the oil and gas industry were among those who were alleged to have received the bribe payments to facilitate and secure crude oil contracts and other business advantages for Glencore.

Glencore is one of Nigeria’s oil traders that were convicted in the United States and Britain for paying bribes in various sums to some government officials in Nigeria, Cameroun, Cote d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Brazil, and Venezuela over a period of ten years.

The global public disclosure about Glencore was made by the United States Department of Justice which later convicted Glencore of the said crime. Glencore has pleaded guilty to the charges and agreed to pay over $1.1 billion to the United States Government.

Following NEITI’s request to the Federal Government to launch investigations into the Glencore Bribery Scandal, assurances were received by NEITI that the matter is under investigation.

NEITI strongly believes that the special investigative panel on Glencore Bribery Scandal will fast-track the investigations towards apprehending the culprits in view of the huge implications to the country’s investment drive and global image.

 

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