A Nigerian oil workers union has expressed worries over the drop in Nigeria’s daily crude oil production.
The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) said on Wednesday that daily crude oil production had dropped from the estimated 2.48 million barrels.
NUPENG President, Igwe Achese, said in a statement in Lagos that the production of crude oil was fluctuating between 1.86 and 2.1 million barrels per day in the first quarter of the year.
The statement said that the union was worried and disturbed over the drop in crude oil production in the country, since the first quarter of 2013.
It blamed the drop on incessant crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism and urged the government to take urgent measures to stem the decline, to ensure that revenue accruing to the Federal Government was not affected.
“Government must change tactics and strategies in the fight against crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism.
“We urge the Federal Government to introduce new technology like monitoring sensors and alarm systems that will trigger off whenever any pipeline is being tampered with,’’ the statement said.
It reiterated that the union believes such measures would check crude oil theft from the pipelines and through the effective surveillance with the collaboration of the host communities where these pipelines traverse.
The statement also suggested that if the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) could bury the pipelines deeply underground, the pipelines would become inaccessible to the oil thieves and the vandals, and it would curb the problem.
It noted that a drop in revenue would affect the transformation agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan, particularly in the provision of power supply, good road networks and other infrastructure.
The statement said that it would also affect the country’s external reserves and further compound the issue of abandonment of projects.
It called on the oil majors and the government to create job opportunities for the restless youths in the Niger Delta, so that they would stop tampering with the pipelines.
“The issue of mass unemployment should be tackled with vigour because it has become a time-bomb, waiting to explode,’’ the statement quoted the NUPENG chief as saying.
It added that oil must not be allowed to be frittered away by unpatriotic Nigerians, because it is the mainstay of the nation’s economy.