Crude oil theft is a huge threat to actualising the objectives of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), experts in the oil and gas sector have said.
The experts urged the federal government and security agencies to find a lasting solution to the issue in the interest of national development.
The PIA, according to them, is aimed at attracting more investment to the sector.
The experts spoke at the pre-conference workshop of the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE) on Monday.
Senior Partner at Delloite Nigeria, Olumide Esan, stated that the signing of the PIA by President Muhammadu Buhari was laudable, noting that it defined a fiscal framework and incentives to drive investment in the oil and gas industry when fully operational.
He, however, maintained that the PIA on its own would not ordinarily translate to gains in the industry if issues such as insecurity and oil theft were not tackled.
According to him, some oil companies lose between 20 to 50 percent of crude produced to oil thieves monthly, which is discouraging for investors.
“Government is the only one that can get this issue under control; otherwise, it would affect what we can get out of PIA,” he stated.
Also, the general manager, Assets and Corporate Strategy, Newcross Petroleum Ltd., Bashir Idowu, said his company averagely lost between 60 to 70 percent of its crude to oil thieves monthly.
Mr Idowu added that indigenous companies were ready to play more roles in the sector following the divestment of assets by the international oil companies.
He further mentioned that divestment by these companies was not peculiar to Nigeria as they were doing the same in other countries due to diversification of portfolio and global energy transition.
Mr Idowu disclosed that indigenous companies could maximise the opportunities provided by the divestment to up their stake from about 25 percent oil production to about 70 percent soon.
He, however, called for synergy among Nigerian companies in the oil and gas space to reduce their operating costs.