By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja

The Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative, NEITI, and Civil Society Organisations, CSOs, Monday, called on the government to provide the adequate metering infrastructure that will curb crude oil theft, pipeline vandalisation, huge revenue loss, inaccurate data, illegal movement of crude oil, and others.

Speaking on the essence of the metering infrastructure, the Executive Secretary, NEITI, Waziri Adio, who was represented by the Director, Corporate Communication and Advocacy, Dr Orji Ogbonaya Orji, during the presentation of report on ‘Improving Metering Infrastructure’ in the oil industry by a group of civil society organizations supported by Facility for Oil Sector Transformation, FOSTER, and funded by UKAID, said in the face of huge budget deficits country’s oil industry as a matter of necessity demands adequate and technology-driven metering infrastructure.

Orji said: “Is part of our ongoing campaign which is to draw national and international attention, and most importantly national attention on the need for us as a country to put in place adequate infrastructure that will help us measure accurately crude Nigeria produces because at this time government is also looking at ways and means of funding budgeting deficits the need for us to take appropriate measures to realize fully revenues that accrue from oil, gas, and mining is key and one way of doing it is to know the quantity of oil we produce.

“Industry experts try to convince us that we are in good standing, but we in NEITI think we are not, we think we can do better. We think that the infrastructures for the measurement of crude oil that we produce are not adequate. It can be improved upon, and we think we are the only country that has not done much. We see a lot of gaps and we as an agency want to see how these gaps are closed. We think the political will be there to do this.

“We think production figures we have from companies are mere estimates. We should have our own independent figures.

“I am not aware of other countries around the world do not have in place an adequate infrastructure that measures the quantity of crude it produces. There are efforts in this direction made here working with the DPR and other agencies.

“But we in Nigeria are convinced that these efforts are not yet enough and we are not yet there. We have watched online how other countries including Saudi Arabia stay in a room with technology and track the soil and the quantity of crude oil produced and up to where they are sold in the international market. Any drop of oil produced in a country like Saudi Arabia is already accounted for.

“The issue of stealing, pipeline vandalisation and all other vices connected with the malpractice in domestic crude and allocation and management can easily be addressed if we are able to measure correct what Nigeria produces. That is why we are very delighted to work with this study team. This is an important report for us.”

According to the presenter of the study and study team member, Dr. Sunday Kanshio, the objective of the study, which motivated the report to come up with new findings as far as measuring in the oil industry is concerned.

“There are key items that keep appearing in news, and first is the NEITI report of 2009, which many people have analyzed in different ways. The second is the Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force that also mentioned that metering is an issue and newspapers, analysists analyzed over and over.

“The next one is a more recent one which the National Petroleum Policy that stated that the state of metering is not sufficient and needs to be looked into. These are all the things that motivated NEITI to say now let us go and check what is happening; are their changes or things that are still as usual.

“The objectives of the study basically to know the status of metering in Nigeria. The second which is the most important one is to able us get data, which is the evidence of our findings. It is to present information that is reliable.

“Another one is to quantify revenue as losses as a result of the inadequacy of metering infrastructure. The last one is to recommend international best practices and how to improve the system. This study focused on hydrocarbon liquid. Everything is about crude oil.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Otive Igbuzor, in his opening remarks harped on three major areas to effectively manage the oil sector, which is yet to be put in place.

He said, “Effective hydrocarbon management is hinged on three areas; fiscal regime, regulation, and metering infrastructure. Unfortunately, the oil and gas industry in Nigeria is yet to get the three rights, while the proposed Petroleum Industry Bill in all its ramifications, the four bills promised to address the issues of fiscal regime and regulation.”

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