By Michael Eboh & Ediri Ejoh
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Ibe Kachikwu, said the Federal Government has commenced the tracking of Nigeria’s crude oil output and is currently working with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to track vessels lifting crude oil from the country.
Speaking at the ongoing Nigeria International Petroleum Summit, NIPS, in Abuja, Kachikwu, disclosed that the Federal Government has acquired the capacity to monitor vessels operating in Nigeria Adding that already the monitoring exercise has spotted irregularities in the movement of some of the vessels mandated to lift crude oil from Nigeria.
He said interim data obtained from the monitoring would help to determine the various loading points of the vessels, the dead weight of the vessels and the volume of crude oil lifted from the country.
He added that the tracking programme would be extended to the downstream sector to determine the volume of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, also known as petrol, imported into the country; the quantity of the products brought in by each vessels; the depots the commodity is stored, up to the points of retail to motorists.
Kachukwu stated: “For the first time, we know what we are producing in this country. As to when it is being produced, barrel to barrel, we can tell. We can see even vessels that are coming into Nigeria and their activities. We have seen some vessels go to a location and pick some cargoes, leave that point, go to another point pick something else and return to the first location, when they should be heading to Port Novo or the United States.
“What we are trying to do with the EFCC is to gather data and track these vessels, to determine the owners, why did they leave this point, what happened along the way, what is the dead weight of the vessels at the time they were leaving Nigeria and many more.
“So for the first time, we are going to soon be able to tell on a day-by-day basis all the activities that took place in the sector and those of the players. We are even going to extend it to the downstream.”