Uduaghan, who is also chairman of the National Economic Council on Crude Oil Theft, said foreign support is needed in the areas of sophisticated surveillance equipment, tagging, identifying final destination of the stolen crude and proceeds.
The governor, while speaking shortly after his address at the Nigeria’s Honorary International Investor’s Council meeting in London, weekend, urged the international community to intensify efforts in the blockade of inflow of small arms into the country.
Uduaghan revealed that the committee approved by President Goodluck Jonathan which comprises of six state governors, members of the state security agencies, the Petroleum Minister, National Planning, Justice, NNPC officials NIMASA and all the IOC’s have been working tirelessly to reduce the crude theft which stands at about 40, 000 barrels per day.
He said the Committee is laying a lot of emphasis on prosecution, assuring that all cases are being streamlined by the legal task force headed by the Minister for Justice and that some cases will be starting soon.
He also appealed to the IOCs to be alive to their social responsibilities and commended Chevron for the initiative of regional development councils which is giving its host communities a sense of ownership
He further enjoined the oil exploration companies to assist in curbing the excessive stealing of crude oil in the Niger-Delta region of Nigeria, since the technology involved in the thievery is very sophisticated and requires the knowledge of those in the industry to succeed.
Uduaghan assured Nigerians and the international community that the Jonathan’s administration has the political will to stop the crime as it is causing a huge loss of revenue and causing serious environmental damage.
Recall that the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) recently expressed concern about crude oil thieves and illegal refineries operators in the Niger-Delta region which loss to the country accounts $1.6billion annually.
The company which cites its forced shut down of the Nembe Creek trunk lines in Bayelsa state, a facility which produces about 150,000 barrels of crude oil per day and its declaration of force majeure on Bonny light export said the closures were to enable Shell remove crude oil theft connections, investigate suspected oil theft leaks and carry out repairs.
While claiming that over 90 per cent of its pipelines in the Niger Delta region have been ruptured by suspected oil thieves, Shell noted that such shutdown of production could also impact negatively on the affected states’ share of oil derivatives from the federation account.