The Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Pathfinder, Port Harcourt, said yesterday that it impounded a vessel laden with 1,300 tonnes of crude oil suspected to be stolen off Bonny Island in Rivers.
The Commanding Officer, Forward Operating base, Bonny, Capt. Daupreye Matthew, told journalists in Port Harcourt that eight suspects were arrested during the raid.
He said preliminary investigation revealed that the vessel had no valid document from relevant agencies to operate in the petroleum industry.
Matthew said: “Particularly worrying is the source of the product because the vessel did not have a Bill of Laden which indicates the crude oil was not gotten from relevant agencies.
“The eight suspects will be handed over to the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) for further investigation and possible prosecution.
“In line with the vision and mission of the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba, I hereby re-emphasise our zero tolerance and resolve to curb oil theft from the region.
“The Navy will not stop until it rid the region of criminality and illegalities in the Nigerian maritime domain.”
He said the fight against oil theft was the responsibility of Nigerians, irrespective of their class to ensure economic growth and prosperity of the country.
Matthew urged the people to continue to provide the Navy with information that would lead to the arrest of oil thieves and pipeline vandals.
According to him, criminals should desist from illegality and seek legitimate jobs because the Navy will not condone acts that are capable of sabotaging the nation’s economic growth.
The acting Commandant of Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in Rivers State, Mrs. Christiana Abiakam, said the command would carry out thorough investigation to unravel the source of the product.
She said if found guilty, the suspect would be arraigned to serve as deterrent to others.
Meanwhile, the United States and others non-members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) are to supply 54.1 million barrels bpd daily to the global market this month, representing an increase of 1.1 per cent against its previous record.
This sustainable increase in oil supply is expected to further affect the market share of OPEC member nations, including Nigeria that depend on oil export to generate foreign exchange for the execution of their yearly budgets.
An October oil market report of the cartel released yesterday stated that “Non- OPEC oil supply is estimated at 54.1 mb/d, following an upward revision of 0.1 mb/d, representing growth of 1.1 mb/d.
It stated that the upward adjustment was due mainly to higher-than-expected supply from the US, Brazil, Kazakhstan and South Sudan & Sudan. In 2014, non- OPEC oil supply is expected to increase by 1.2 mb/d, supported by anticipated growth in the US, Canada, Brazil, and South Sudan & Sudan.
The report stated that OPEC NGLs and nonconventional oils are expected to increase by 0.2 mb/d in 2013 and 0.1 mb/d in 2014. In September, total OPEC crude production averaged 30.05 mb/d, according to secondary sources, representing a drop of 390 tb/d from the previous month.
It said: “World economic growth for 2013 and 2014 remains unchanged at 2.9per centper cent and 3.5per cent respectively, although ongoing developments regarding the budget stand-off in the US requires close monitoring. US growth for 2013 has been revised down to 1.6per cent from 1.7per cent, while the 2014 forecast remains at 2.5per cent.
“The Euro-zone growth forecast for the current year has been revised up to -0.3per cent from -0.5per cent and to 0.7per cent from 0.6per cent for 2014. Japan’s forecast for 2013 has been revised up to 1.9per cent from 1.7per cent and growth for 2014 has been revised to 1.5per cent from 1.4 per cent.
It stated that India has been impacted by capital outflows and its 2013 forecast has been lowered to 5.0oper cent and its 2014 forecast reduced to 5.8per cent.
The report said China’s growth expectations remain unchanged at 7.6per cent and 7.7per cent for 2013 and 2014 respectively.
It said: “World oil demand is estimated to average 89.7 mb/d in 2013, representing growth of 0.8 mb/d compared to the previous year, and unchanged from the previous report.”
The report maintained that upward revisions in OECD Americas and Europe were almost entirely offset by downward adjustments in OECD Asia Pacific, Other Asia and the FSU.
“For 2014, growth is expected to increase to around 1.0 mb/d to reach to 90.8 mb/d. Non-OECD countries are projected to lead oil demand growth with 1.2 mb/d, while OECD consumption is seen continuing to decline but at a lower rate of 0.2 mb/d,” the report said.
However, demand for OPEC crude in 2013 is estimated to average 29.9 mb/d, unchanged from the previous report, representing a decline of 0.5 mb/d from 2012. In 2014, demand for OPEC crude is expected at 29.6 mb/d, also in line with the previous report, representing a decline of 0.3 mb/d compared to the current year.
Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, said the continued increase in American oil production and export will affect the fortunes of Nigeria, particularly as America was until recently a major consumer of the nation’s crude oil.
The minister said Nigeria will have to explore market opportunities in other nations with the capacities to consume commercial oil from the nation.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC also admitted that the increasing development of shale gas as major source of energy in the United States is a major challenge to Nigeria’s oil industry.