By Ediri Ejoh & Prince Okafor
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, yesterday, said the Federal Government lost about $100 billion revenue last year to incessant attacks on oil facilities by militants in the Niger Delta.
Kachikwu, who stated this while talking on his ministry’s 20-point agenda, also said the country lost about one million barrels per day at the peak of the attacks.
He said: “At the highest of it last year, we were producing 1.2mbpd. We were losing literally a million barrels daily. At that time also, we were losing an average over $50-$100 billion unearned income as a result of disruption.
“Jobs were out, pipelines were thrown over the entire place, refineries couldn’t work to capacity, we couldn’t meet our contractors’ international obligations, and the economy basically suffered.”
Kachikwu explained that the fall in oil price did not help matters.
He said: “When you have that side by side with the fact that oil prices also declined by 60 percent over the last one and half years, you will see the massive problem that President Muhammadu Buhari has faced and he has to deal with over this period.
“This is a problem that has consistently been there, even before the government of President Obasanjo. It is a problem that seems to never have a solution in sight.”
Speaking on development in the Niger Delta, the minister said the Federal Government had come up with 20 options that should be pleasing to the region.
Kachikwu said: “Today we view 20 potential options that we can look at. First, we begin the process of engaging the communities, and one of the things the oil companies are going to be doing together in the next one month is to be having a meeting once in every two months with the state executives and oil producing communities.”