Oil giant Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) has blamed Nigeria’s economic woes, including the free fall of the naira value and high cost of living on unabated oil theft and assets vandalism.
The Country Head, Corporate Relations of SPDC, Igo Weli, said this during an interaction with the media in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on Tuesday.
He argued that with heavy reliance on oil proceeds, even when oil prices were currently above $100, Nigeria still struggles because of low output induced by crude oil theft, adding that with low output comes low income in foreign exchange.
He warned that unless urgent action was taken to halt the ceaseless oil theft, the nation was headed for a period when government would have to spend half of its budget cleaning up the mess resulting from crude oil theft and illegal refining of petroleum products.
“We can link most of the problems to the fact of these illegal activities going on. People are so bold and proud of it.
“Sometimes people call into radio programmes to hail them because they assume people who engage in bunkering are doing so because they are hungry and do not have jobs.
“That is not true. Equipment required to carry out oil theft are so expensive, poor people cannot afford to set up oil theft and illegal refining businesses.
“Only those with deep pockets can and they are killing you and I, destroying the economy.
“If we keep destroying our environment, the type of company that would want to come to this country that will give our children value proposition and contribute positively to our economy will not come. That is why I give credit to the Rivers State governor because some months ago, he showed leadership.
“But sustainability is key. You cannot win a league by winning a few games. I hear a lot of people calling for the cleanup of Niger Delta and my point is, if over 90 percent of those spills are caused by people that will go in with hacksaw and even explosive to vandalise the pipes, then they are creating a problem that will eat up the budget that would have been used for education, health and others.”
Igo also denied the alleged complicity of Shell and other oil operatives in the gale of oil theft.
“There is no evidence to prove any of the company’s staff is culpable and no one will be shielded from prosecution if found wanting.
“What we do in Nigeria to protect our assets, we do not do it anywhere else in the world. We do daily overflight and it’s not cheap. We fly with chopper over assets to see what is happening with them.
“We have wellhead cages designed to alert us when someone tampers with it. We detail engagement with security agencies and we provide them with information we get from these overfly in real time and right now we currently have a contract to use drones,” he stated.
Join the conversation
Support Ripples Nigeria, hold up solutions journalism
Balanced, fearless journalism driven by data comes at huge financial costs.
As a media platform, we hold leadership accountable and will not trade the right to press freedom and free speech for a piece of cake.
If you like what we do, and are ready to uphold solutions journalism, kindly donate to the Ripples Nigeria cause.
Your support would help to ensure that citizens and institutions continue to have free access to credible and reliable information for societal development.
ICYMI…SPECIAL REPORT: NNPCL hides behind PIA to frustrate disclosure, accountability
Nigeria’s major oil company, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL), in what appears to be a common practice of disregard...
INVESTIGATION: Multi-million naira Ekiti resort center remains uncompleted a decade after
The multimillion-naira project, expected to comprise recreational buildings, now consists of cassava farmland, a bush used for excretion, and a...
SPECIAL REPORT: Torturous experiences of students with disabilities in Oyo tertiary institutions
For students with disabilities in Oyo state-owned tertiary institutions, learning is a torturous and distressing experience, considering the building structures...
INVESTIGATION: Uncompleted Old Enugu-Onitsha Road brings untold hardship, tears to commuters, residents of Enugu communities
Ugwu Obinna’s younger sister was killed after a truck driver transporting cows rammed into her shop located at the Okpatu...
INVESTIGATION: Students sit on floors, under leaking roofs as multi-million naira project is nowhere to be found in Zamfara
Suleman Tukur, 15, an SS 2 student of Government Day Secondary School (GDSS) Bakura in Bakura local government area of...