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The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited has uncovered an illegal oil connection from Forcados Terminal that operated for nine years.

NNPCL Chief Executive Officer, Mele Kyari, disclosed this on Tuesday at the Senate’s joint committees on Gas and Petroleum (Upstream and Downstream), where he also apologised for skipping the last briefing on health grounds.

“Oil theft in the country has been going on for over 22 years but the dimension and rate it assumed in recent times is unprecedented,” Kyari said.

According to him, a four-kilometer illegal oil connection line from Forcados Terminal into the sea which had been in operation for nine years was detected during a clampdown in the past six weeks.

He also stated that the Brass, Forcados, and Bonny terminals were all practically doing zero production, adding, “The combined effect is that you have lost 600,000 barrels per day when you do a reality test,” he said.

“As a result of oil theft, Nigeria loses about 600,000 barrels per day, which is not healthy for the nation’s economy, and in particular, the legal operators in the field, which had led to a close down of some of their operational facilities.”

Members of the committees proposed that capital punishment be put in place for offenders, which will be presented at plenary for consideration.

This is even as the chairman of the joint committee, Mohammed Sabo Nakudu, asked the NNPCL boss to prepare for oversight functions on Port Harcourt and Warri refineries in order to verify claims of rehabilitation.

Following the increased oil theft in recent years, the oil company earlier said that the country loses 470,000 barrels of crude oil monthly amounting to $700 million to oil theft.

The situation forced the government to launch an application in August to monitor incidence. The NNPC awarded a multi-billion naira pipeline surveillance procurement to Tompolo, a former leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta.