The firm’s Manager, Security, Albert Ijuwe, said the menace forced the oil giant to shut production early this year.
“We are losing about 20,000 barrels of crude oil per day due to oil theft, and we even had to shut down production early this year to enable the company effect repairs on 162 theft points,” he said, adding that the 162 points were holes drilled on the company’s pipelines by oil thieves to siphone the products.
Ijuwe spoke at a meeting organised by the Bayelsa State Government in Yenagoa to map out strategies of dealing with the menace.
He thanked the government for initiating the discussions on the best way to tackle the scourge.
The meeting held at the Banquet Hall had in attendance the Deputy Governor, Rear Admiral John Jonah (rtd), representatives of NAOC and surveillance contractors.
The contractors who atttended the meeting were engaged by the company to monitor its pipelines.
In his remarks, Jonah lamented that the development had led to loss of revenue in the region. He said oil theft had impacted negatively on the economy which depends largely on oil.
Worried by the development, he said the government, at all levels, were making efforts to check activities of the oil thieves, saying that oil thieves and the activities of international oil companies had done a lot of damage to the environemnt.
“The Federal Government had already constituted a committee headed by the Governor of Delta State, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan and the others from the South-south, to deal with the issue of crude oil theft in the region,” he said.
In his address, the Commissioner for Energy, Francis Ikio, said: “The mechanism of crude oil theft is very technical which can only be carried out by persons that have professional knowledge to do so,” adding that “International Oil Companies should check their internal systems as there is the possibility of insider abuse.”
One of the surveillance contractors, Chief Nengi James, described the meeting as a welcome development, noting that the activites of oil theives had assumed a worrisome dimension.
“Apart from the adverse effects on the national economy, occasioned by oil theft, the ecosystem in the Niger Delta has been damaged due to oil exploration activities,” he added.
– Mike Odiegwu, The Nation