By Mbafan Ade –
The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) has empanelled a team of experts to carry out thorough auditing of the activities of operators in the upstream petroleum industry in the last two years.
Chief Executive Officer of the NUPRC, Engr. Gbenga Komolafe, who made this known in a statement today, said the aim of setting up the panel was to ascertain the actual volume of crude oil stolen by vandals and saboteurs against recent allegations by some industry operators regarding the volume of crude stolen on a daily basis from their operations.
The panel is to carry out a forensic investigation to cover the technical and commercial operations of oil companies involved in drilling and selling of crude oil, he added.
According to Engr Komolafe, “The Commission is not unaware of the tragedy of oil theft which has been a plague on the industry and had last year triggered an industry-wide initiative aimed at curbing it and increasing crude production levels; a development which followed an express presidential directive.”
Worried by incessant acts of sabotage by criminals and some unscrupulous persons within the industry, President Muhammadu Buhari had directed that all necessary mechanisms should be activated to curb oil theft in particular and immediately end other forms of economic sabotage in the oil and gas industry. Action on the directive commenced immediately and is on-going.
The Commission thus considers worrisome, the crude loss figures recently being quoted in the media by some operators, given actions taken so far on the issue. To ascertain the veracity of these claims, the Commission has activated all the necessary mechanisms to get to the root of the matter and establish the actual volume of crude stolen as against the volumes claimed.
While stepping up efforts to deal with the issue of oil theft in collaboration with the military and other relevant agencies, the Commission has mandated the newly constituted panel to investigate the claims regarding the volume of theft from the various oils fields and establish the actual operational capacities of the operators; to find out if the volumes being touted are actual; and if so, what additional measures need to be put in place to effectively address the issue.
While a stakeholders’ meeting has been called to discuss the matter with a view to jointly address the situation, the Commission, at a meeting of its management meeting on Monday 21, activated its technical and commercial mandate to demand for the statement of financial accounts of the operators and reservoir accounts of productive oil wells for the last two years. This will entail both sales audit and reservoir audit to establish correlations between their technical and commercial activities vis-a-vis the monitoring and evaluation records available to regulatory agencies.