Vanguard (Nigeria): Crude theft is bleeding the economy — Shell: “By the time you put all the figures together, it is colossal”, top spokesperson of the company, Mr Larry Ossai, said in Abuja. He disclosed that Shell alone lost 15 million barrels of production potentials between January and last month, under what he called “opportunity loss”, amounting to as much as $530 million.” (ShellNews.net) Posted 19 Dec 04
By Emma Ujah
Nigeria’s number one crude oil producer, Shell has raised alarm over the menace of crude oil thieves saying they were bleeding the nation’s economy and that urgent steps must be taken to curb their activities.
“Crude theft is bleeding us to death. Shell alone loses between 40,000 to 50,000 barrels per day to crude oil theft. Think of the other oil producing companies-Chevron, Mobil, and others. By the time you put all the figures together, it is colossal”, top spokesperson of the company, Mr Larry Ossai, said in Abuja.
He disclosed that Shell alone lost 15 million barrels of production potentials between January and last month, under what he called “opportunity loss”, amounting to as much as $530 million.
Mr Ossai maintained that oil companies were at the receiving end of the face-off between the Federal Government and some of the oil producing communities, as according to him, some of them will tell us “we don’t have any problem with you but we know if we disrupt your operations, government will listen to us”.
Notwithstanding, he said that Shell managed to maintain a daily production level of more than 1 million barrels and that it was determined to retain its industry rating, in spite of the challenges in the Niger Delta.
He said that the company has adopted a policy of “cashless relationship between it and the local communities” under a new strategy of sustainable community development programme being jointly implemented with other stakeholders.
According to him, the company realised that when money was given out, it was never used to the benefit of the generality of the people, rather the infrastructure meant to benefit the people were left unattended, with growing discontent among the larger community.
The Shell official said that the company’s community development has now been aligned with the Niger Delta Master plan prepared by the Niger Delta Development Commission, which has brought oil companies, donor agencies and the three tiers of government together to develop the region under one umbrella.
He said that community development was now more participatory than ever before with a bottom-up approach taking the centre-stage in all efforts to make life better for the people of the Niger Delta.
Mr. Ossai also said that Shell was playing a leading role in the development of local content in the oil industry to position Nigerians to play greater role in the oil business. He said that participation of Nigerians was the most viable way for the nation to benefit from the oil revenue.
He argued that contrary to claims by some Nigerians, oil companies were not short-changing Nigerians, but that in a situation where most jobs were contracted to services companies abroad, much capital flight took place.
The official called on Nigerian players in the industry to team up with one another in other to establish big companies that could effectively compete with the international companies.