Petroleum regulator in Nigeria has revealed that Africa’s top producer lost $1 billion in revenue during the first quarter of this year through crude oil theft.
The head of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, Gbenga Komolafe, revealed on Friday that of the 141 million barrels of oil produced in the first quarter of 2022, only about 132 million barrels of oil were received at export terminals.
Komolafe said in a statement reiterated that the situation “indicates that over nine million barrels of oil was lost to crude oil theft … this amounts to a loss in government revenue of about $1 billion … in just one quarter.”
“This trend poses an existential threat to the oil and gas sector and by extension, the Nigerian economy if not curbed.”
Despite the recent rise in crude oil prices in the international market, Nigeria’s economy, which is largely dependent on oil has not reaped the benefits due to the continued increase in theft and pipeline vandalism estimated to have gulped 73 million barrels a year.
An investigations by Vanguard revealed that the country loses about $7.3 billion a year to oil thieves and vandals. The situation is made worse by the country’s inability to meet the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC’s production quota of 1.8 million barrels per day which resulted in the Federal Government recently announcing a reduction in her export target to 1.6 million barrels per day while other countries in the cartel are striving to exceed their quota.
Beyond oil theft, oil spillage is another challenge that has bedeviled the West African country.
A Premiumtimesng report says between January 2019 and April 2021, 12 states in Nigeria recorded 881 cases of oil spillage, according to data obtained from NOSDRA, a government-run satellite tracker.
Nigeria: President Buhari makes U-turn on approval of Exxon unit acquisition by Seplat
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has made a U-turn in his earlier position that grant approval of Exxon Mobil’s sale of local offshore shallow water assets to Seplat.
President Buhari had on Monday approved the $1.28 billion transaction, only for the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission to say it opposed the deal, although it did not give a reason.
Presidential spokesman Garba Shehu, told newsmen that “the president has decided to allow the regulator to do their work. He is withholding his earlier given approval, for now, to allow the process to be completed, that is basically it.”
In February, Seplat Energy Plc, unveiled plans to acquire the entire share capital of Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited (MPNU) from Exxon Mobil Corporation Delaware (USA Incorporated). That includes all of Exxon’s entire shallow water assets in the Niger Delta.
Seplat on its side said it is yet to received no official notification of President Buhari’s U-turn and is seeking clarification from authorities.
Nigeria climbs to fourth position on World Bank’s list of most indebted nations
Nigeria has moved into the fourth position of World Bank’s list of countries with the highest debts, according to the Bank’s financisl report released on Monday.
Going by the World Bank Fiscal Year 2022 audited financial statements for International Development Association (IDA), Nigeria now owes a debt stock of $13bn as at June 30, 2022.
The country also moved up one spot from the fifth position it was rated as of June 30, 2021, with an IDA debt stock of $11.7bn.
The global bank also revealed in its audited financial statements that Nigeria has accumulated about $1.3bn IDA debt within a fiscal year, adding that the debt is different from the outstanding loan of $486m from the World Bank’s International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
What this means is that Nigeria now has the highest IDA debt in Africa, and is only bettered by the likes India with $19.7bn debt, Bangladesh, $18bn
and Pakistan, $15.8bn, all from the Asian bloc.
The Washington-based international Financial Institution also disclosed that Nigeria’s debt which may be considered sustainable for now, is fast growing into a state of vulnerability and could become costly.
“Nigeria’s debt remains sustainable, albeit vulnerable and costly, especially due to large and growing financing from the Central Bank of Nigeria,” it said.
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