The Nigerian Navy has denied indicting the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) over oil theft in Nigeria.
This is according to a statement signed by the Nigerian Navy Director of Information, Adedotun Ayo-Vaughan, who was reacting to reports that the Navy accused the company of not disclosing the true case(s) of crude oil theft in Nigeria but dishing out bloated figures to stay safe.
“The report indicated that the chairman of the committee demanded explanations on why the country continued to experience cases of oil theft if the waterways were secured,” the statement added.
“The distinguished senator had queried that, ‘The oil theft issue has been a very worrisome one to every Nigerian and more importantly, it has negatively impacted our economy. How come the Navy hasn’t been able to solve the issue of oil theft and if the Navy is claiming that the waterways are secured, why are there still cases of oil theft?’
“Equally, it was mentioned that another senator noted that at an oversight function, the NNPCL said crude pipelines were being tapped from the pressure pipe under the sea and crude oil was usually transferred from there into vessels, and this had been happening for nine years.”
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“He reportedly asked, ‘Is the Navy aware or not of the tapping going on under the sea?’ The questions were all responded to and in the course of responding, it was explained that the challenge is due to the criminal activity inshore by the illegal local refiners in tapping into the export lines many of which have not been in operation since early this year, 2022, resulting in opportunity lost.
“The Navy representative at the Senate hearing repeatedly mentioned that the Navy is not indicting the NNPCL in any way and has been working with the national oil giant to curb the menace of crude oil theft since April 1, 2022, when Operation Dakatar Da Barawo was launched in Onne, Rivers State as a mutual effort and synergy between the Navy and NNPCL to address issues of crude oil theft, rampant illegal artisan refineries and illegal oil bunkering amongst other criminalities in the creeks.
“At the strategic level, almost daily and regular consultations, engagements and meetings are held between the Navy and NNPCL to review the situation, appraise the approach to curb the menace and proffer ways forward.
“Pertinently, to attempt to imply otherwise will be a gross misrepresentation of the cordial and mutual working relationship between the two organisations.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Nigerian Navy under the able leadership of Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo has been and will continue to work with the NNPCL to fashion out solutions and remedies to the challenges in Nigeria’s maritime environment concerning the oil industry for the overall good of Nigeria and indeed for all well-meaning Nigerians,” the statement added.
He will be replaced by his assistant Cristian Stellini until the end of the season.
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