The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited, Mele Kyari, has called on the international community to join Nigeria in its battle against crude oil theft.
Of recent, almost 50 per cent of crude oil produced in Nigeria is lost to thieves. This has greatly reduced oil revenue due to the country.
Speaking at the Nigeria International Economic Partnership Forum in New York, Kyari said investors should treat any Nigerian oil from unofficial channels the same way blood diamonds were treated in the recent past.
Kyari said: “Oil theft is not very unique to Nigeria, many countries have dealt with it even in the very recent past but also required concerted international efforts, just like the world did for blood diamonds.
“I think this is a very good opportunity to request that at the level of diplomats, that the honourable minister of foreign affairs take this to that level, for countries to label any theft of oil from Nigeria coming to the market as blood oil.
“That’s surely a short-term issue: we know that many things are going wrong in our country today concerning this situation. But despite this, we would continue selling to the international community. The utilisation of stolen oil is not in our country, not even in Africa, but out there and the international community needs to support us to contend with this because oil has traces, oil has signatures.”
The NNPCL boss said international buyers can tell where the oil they are buying is from, and they can compare that with the NNPCL sales record, and identify if the crude they are buying is stolen.
“Stolen oil can be known, we have put up structures to make sure that it can be identified clearly on the webpages that we have created, you can always validate the product and sales that are from us.
“More than anything else, you know, we are also implementing the advanced goods declaration process which is a requirement anywhere in the world, and once that works out, the rest is support from the international community.”
At the event, the NNPCL and the Federal Ministry of Petroleum signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with international investors to build modular refineries in Nigeria, with each one capable of refining 10,000 barrels of oil per day.
Kyari assured investors that Nigeria is safe and open for business in oil, and particularly gas.