Reps to probe $17bn crude oil, gas shortfall

The House of Representatives, on Thursday, set machinery in motion to set up an ad hoc committee to investigate the over $17 billion allegedly stolen from undeclared crude oil and Liquefied Natural Gas Exports to global destinations involving 20 companies, two agencies of government, two law firms and the consultant (technical expert) appointed by the past government  of Dr Goodluck Jonathan.

The House resolutions was sequel to a motion under matters of urgent national importance moved by Honourable Johnson Agbonayinma, who said there was the need to carry out the probe.

While informing the House that the past administration intervened in the crude oil theft, he said “the colossal figures of crude oil theft, the past administration in 2013, held a meeting with all the major oil companies to proffer solution to the embarrassing challenge of crude oil theft.”

Speaking further, he said: “Following the resolve of the meeting at the behest of the president, Molecular Power System (Nigeria) Limited was engaged to provide technical data (records of crude oil and Liquefied Natural Gas Lifting in Nigeria, as obtained from NNPC and landing certificates at global destination to verify possibilities of non-declaration to the Federal Government by multinational companies.”

According to him, “the data gathering of shipment to the United States for the period 2011 to December 2014, through critical NNPC data and the Central Bank of Nigeria pre-shipment inspection report shows an undeclared crude oil short falls of 57,830,000 of Nigeria crude oil, translating to well over $12 billion to the United States, also over $3 billion to China and $839,522,600 to Norway.

“These were conclusively ascertained by buyers, bill of lading, arrival dates, destination ports, quantity of crude oil and other documented information.

“This job has been done in 51 countries, where Nigeria’s crude oil has been exported, the report of the United States being the largest receiver of crude oil and that of other countries was made available to the former president, the office of the Attorney-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

“The physicalisation policy of the Federal Government, which warrants loading of crude oil from Nigeria to be monitored by the DPR, the Navy, the Customs, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the NIMASA has been crippled over the years till date.

“These agencies have majorly lost the capacity to go to offshore locations to witness loading, the machines that monitor loading into vessels were brought, owned, calibrated and operation by the international oil companies, IOCs without monitoring.

“These data, so gathered, shows for LNG shortfall of a total of 727,460 metric ton of Liquefied Natural Gas, estimated at about $461.44 million was firmly established shortfall from shipment to seven countries.

“This revenue loss was traced to cargoes at each destination port of entry and have been established as undeclared cargoes,” he stated.

A few lawmakers that contributed to the motion supported the probe and wondered why such huge sum should be left unaccounted for.

When the motion was put to vote by the Speaker, Honourable Yakubu Dogara, it was unanimously supported.