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Why Can’t We Name And Shame Illegal Crude Oil Operators In Our Waters? Sen. Gershom Bassey Questions GCEO Of NNPC

By Oluchi Omai

The Senator representing Cross River South Senatorial District, Senator Gershom Bassey has said that all those involved in oil theft should be named and shamed. Gershom Bassey said on Tuesday when The Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream) summoned the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited, Mele Kyari, over oil theft. 

The senator first commended the GCEO of NNPC for raising the issue of opportunity in gas in Europe and elaborating on it. Adding that he was wondering what Nigeria is doing to exploit the opportunities that have risen in Europe with the supply of gas.

“Let me first of all start by commending you, you talked about the opportunity in gas in Europe, and that is something I was very interested in. I was wondering what Nigeria is doing to exploit the opportunities that have now arisen in Europe with the supply of gas, and I was happy that you raise that issue and elaborated on it and I am happy that NNPC is proactive in trying to exploit those  opportunities which will have serious consequences for foreign exchange earning in Nigeria, so let me commend you for that.” He said.

While questioning Mele Kyari over crude oil theft, Senator Gershom Bassey stressed that as a result of all this monitoring capacity, trackers and so on, it is possible to take note of every tanker and vessel leaving Nigeria and what they carry.  He also added that because no crude oil business can be done in Nigeria without a tax, it means that the NNPC has the information of the illegal operators and should name and shame them.

“You say you have a line of site for all the tankers and everything including oil leaving Nigeria, so you know every single tanker that leaves Nigeria, you know what they are carrying, quantity and so on. My question is then why is it so difficult for us to identify those involved in crude oil theft? If we know all the legal tankers and oil carriers, batches and so on leaving our shores and we have the control room monitoring all of these. How is it that we cannot name and shame every single illegal operator in our waters? I would have like a situation that as a result of all this monitoring capacity, trackers and so on, we could sit down and say column A is the legal tankers, column B is the illegal tankers and then we can name them, the ship and the owners, you can name the operators. You also said that there is no crude oil transaction that can be done without a tax. So we even have more information on these people why is it that we cannot publish their names and publish the quantities that are leaving our shores.” He said.

The Senator also noted that beyond oil theft, there are other factors which account for the problems of meeting the daily quotas in oil production. But, demanded an explanation as to why those stealing the oil cannot be named and shamed.

“I know you say that beyond crude oil theft there are other issues that account for the problems that we have in terms of meeting our quotas in oil production. But for those that are stealing the oil, I want you to explain to us why we cannot name and shame them given all the technologies that we already have in place.” He added.

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