By Dipo Olowookere
Vice-Chairman of the Security Subcommittee of the Oil Producers Trade Section (OPTS) of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Mr Shina Bankole, has revealed that Nigeria has lost about N3 trillion to militants in the oil Niger Delta region of the country.
Mr Bankole made this known while speaking in Lagos on Monday at the 17th Health Safety and Environment (HSE) Biennial Conference on the Oil and Gas Industry in Nigeria organised by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).
He specifically said Nigeria has lost over 130 million barrels of crude oil from January to October this year to the activities of militant groups in the Niger Delta region, numbering about 32.
Going his assertion and using the estimate of $50 per barrel and exchange rate of N470/$, Nigeria has lost about N3 trillion within the period under review.
Mr Bankole, who doubles as the General Manager in charge of Security at Chevron Nigeria Limited, lamented that the oil and gas industry had known peace until things changed in 2015.
“Within the same period, the rate of sabotage on oil and gas assets has led to lost production opportunities by the oil companies.
“As of today, more than 130 million barrels of crude oil have been lost due to the inability of the oil companies to produce as a result of the activities of the militants,” Mr Bankole said.
According to him, the rehabilitation of about 30,000 ex-agitators, the Amnesty Programme introduced in 2009 by the federal government had successfully restored normalcy to the oil-producing region until 2015 when new militant groups began to emerge.
He lamented that the resurgence of militancy since 2015 has led to the proliferation of militant groups, stressing that as of today, no fewer than 32 of such groups have emerged in the Niger Delta, some with possible ethnic agenda, while others came with a criminal agenda.
However, he expressed confidence that the government would bring a lasting solution to the Niger Delta problem.
Also speaking at the event, Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, said the insecurity in the Niger Delta had raised the cost of security by six times over the past 10 years.
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