Oil Minister moves to curb oil theft, meets with Bayelsa monarchs

Heineken Lokpobiri

In a move aimed at curbing pipeline vandalism and oil theft in the Niger Delta region, the Minister of State Petroleum (Oil), Senator Heineken Lokpobiri has met with traditional rulers in Bayelsa State to drum up support for the Federal Government’s bid to boost oil production.

Oil theft and pipeline vandalism have been blamed for low oil production in the country with Nigeria unable to meet its oil production target to fund the budget.

The latest oil production data released by the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, NUPRC, had indicated production fell by 7.4 per cent to 1.25 million barrels per day in November 2023 compared to 1.35bpd in October. Added to condensate oil, the data also showed that total production also dropped by 6.1 per cent to 1.466mbpd last month compared to 1.56mbpd recorded in October.

A statement by Senator Lokpobiri’s media aide, Nneamaka Okafor on Saturday, said the Minister has “embarked on a series of insightful and collaborative courtesy visits to traditional rulers in Bayelsa State. This strategic initiative aligns with the Minister’s unwavering commitment to foster cooperation with key stakeholders in the oil industry, specifically aimed at addressing persistent challenges such as pipeline vandalization, crude theft, and security uncertainties in oil-bearing communities across the region.

“One of these meetings took place with the Pere of Ekpetiama clan and Chairman of the Traditional Rulers’ Council of Bayelsa State, HRM King Bubaraye Dakolo. In this engaging encounter, the Minister stressed the imperative of collective efforts in curbing pipeline vandalization and oil theft.

“He called on His Royal Majesty to utilize his esteemed position to rally other Traditional Rulers in the State for a unified front in addressing these challenges. Recognizing the crucial role traditional leaders play in the socio-economic fabric of the region, the Minister emphasized the need for a joint commitment to securing the oil infrastructure”.

The Minister was said to have also met separately with the King of Nembe Kingdom and former Minister of Petroleum, HRM Edmund Daukoru and the Pere of Kumbowei Kingdom, HRM Boloye Sufadoh Embareba.

“The discussions during these meetings were focused on the importance of collaborative action in ensuring the security of pipelines and combating illicit activities in the oil sector”.

The Minister reiterated the government’s commitment to creating a secure and prosperous oil sector, emphasizing the symbiotic relationship between a thriving oil industry and national prosperity.

The statement added that by “actively engaging with traditional rulers, the Minister aims to build a strong and enduring alliance with local leaders, fostering a secure environment that is conducive to sustainable growth in the oil industry”.

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