The country may not recover from the negative impact of crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism in the next 20 years or more, the Federal Government has said.
It also said that the Trans Niger gas pipeline to the Afam VI power plant, which was shut by Shell Development Company Joint Venture last week, was now set to resume operations.
These were revealed by the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, on Tuesday during her presentation at the Ministerial Platform organised by the Ministry of Information in Abuja.
“It is clear that the incessant crude oil pipeline vandalism, theft and illegal refining, what I call firewood distillers, are not only taking away our oil from us, but are also greatly endangering and impacting the environment in those areas. And the country may not recover from it in the next 20 years or more,” she said.
Alison-Madueke said it was obvious that the government needed to embark on aggressive measures to stop the menace.
She, however, said the government was working with multinational companies and security agencies to arrest the situation, adding that it had set up a committee to address the issue.
The minister said, “Our crude oil production is consistently maintained above an average of 2.3 million barrels per day despite the constraints. First, it had gone up to 2.62 million barrels per day in October of 2010, but we have been battling with the vandals, and since then, we have still managed to maintain it at 2.3 million barrels on average.
“Crude oil theft affects every Nigerian. It affects us in ways that many of us may never know. But the truth is that when the economy of your country is directly impacted negatively, then one way or the other, it affects the food that you put on your table.”
Information from Punch was used in this report.