Plans to tackle Nigeria's oil theft woes


During the Nigeria Oil and Gas week conference, focus was placed on the country’s underdeveloped gas sector, oil theft and illegal bunkering of oil. These are current problems that Nigeria faces.

(WATCH VIDEO: Impact of Bunkering on Nigeria’s Oil Industry)

“It’s a man-made problem so it has man-made solutions and eventually I think we will all gather around to deal with it. Not just the government alone – which we consistently put all the pressure on – but the private sector, corporates, civil societies and the communities. We need to solve that problem,” Wale Tinubu, CEO, Oando told CNBC Africa.


In 2011, the government gave a rebel leader, Government Ekpemupolo, better known as Tompolo’s company – Global West Vessel Specialist Limited a pipeline surveillance contract worth 103.4 billion dollars to protect the country’s waterways and curb the rampant oil theft in the Niger Delta region of the country.

“I don’t think the answer to the problem is to continually throw money at security. Security means that it is either preventative or causative after it’s already happened. What we do need to do is ensure that it is not acceptable pattern of behaviour and societies make a call against it,” he said.

Tinubu believes that once that is done, the process to stop the menace can then be implemented. On the other hand, Nigeria has the ninth largest gas reserves in the world estimated over 170 trillion cubic feet however due to the majority of the gas being flared, the country loses over 735 million naira daily.

(WATCH VIDEO: Delta state governor discusses oil theft in Nigeria)

“The most important thing is that we have the abundance of the reserves, 175 trillion cubic feet. We’ve got an LNG plant in the Shell plant, a 30 million tonne plus capacity plant. We’ve got a sizeable power demand locally, so it means we can utilise our gas. We’ve got a very large population with very strong economic requirements, so there is an industrial base,” he explained.

The Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke said at the conference, that Nigeria had contributed significantly to the oil sector in the past 50 years and will participate considerably in the gas sector in the next 50 years. Nonetheless, many fear that human capacity development may be neglected as we do not have the sufficient populace with the technical know-how to fit into the gas sector.  

(WATCH VIDEO: Challenges in Nigeria’s gas sector)

“Until you face the opportunities head on, you won’t develop capacity but it’s very hard to invest in capacity ahead of something happening,” he added.