Nigeria lost about 22 million barrels of its crude oil production to oil theft between January and June 2019, Edo Governor Godwin Obaseki said on Thursday.
Obaseki, a governor in one of the oil producing states, warned that if nothing was done to curtail the ugly trend, the figure could double by the end of the year.
The governor, also the Chairman of the Ad-hoc Committee of the National Economic Council on Crude Oil Theft, spoke at a stakeholders meeting held at the office of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
He said the menace of oil theft and pipeline vandalism were beginning to pose a threat to the national economy.
The governor called on stakeholders to join forces and work toward eradicating the menace of crude oil theft that was currently on upward swing in the country.
It would be recalled that the NNPC Monthly Financial and Operations Report (MFOR) for June revealed a staggering 77 per cent rise in cases of oil pipeline vandalism across its network of pipeline infrastructure.
According to the report, 106 pipeline points are breached, representing an alarming increase from the 60 points vandalised in May 2019.
The meeting had in attendance the group Managing Director of NNPC, Malam Mele Kyari, and representatives of the governors of Delta, Bayelsa, Ondo, Cross River, Akwa Ibom and Rivers.
Also in attendance were representatives of the Police, Navy, Army, Civil Defence and the International Oil Companies (IOCs) and some indigenous operators.