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By Adedapo Adesanya

The Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas (NLNG) has disclosed that the country is unable to produce up to 70 per cent of its gas capacity due to crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism, among others.

The Chief Executive Officer of NLNG, Mr Philip Mshelbila, said the issues of theft and vandalism were gradually strangulating Nigeria’s oil and gas sector.

“We have been producing in the last month at about between 60 to 68 per cent utilisation. In other words, roughly 35 per cent of our capacity is empty,” he told an energy conference in Abuja.

“There are many factors, but the biggest one of them is crude oil theft. If we don’t address this, we will not get out of this quagmire that we’re in.”

Mr Mshelbila said his company had stopped exports of liquefied petroleum gas for domestic use to meet demand from the local market.

Nigeria’s petroleum regulator, Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) said last week the country lost $1 billion in revenue during the first quarter of this year due to crude oil theft, warning the practice was a threat to the economy of Africa’s top producer.

With continuous problems, this might affect the country’s Decade of Gas plan that seeks to leverage the country’s huge gas reserves to become not just a major exporter but to become a major gas-consuming nation.

The investments and partnerships in the gas sector include the creation of a 10 hectares gas hub in Polaku, Bayelsa State for hosting gas-based infrastructure and facilities, LPG jetties/terminals, storage facilities, inland transportation, cylinders manufacturing, bottling, and retail.

The country has counted several wins including 6,000 metric tonnes of LPG storage facilities, annual production of 1.2million LPG composite cylinders, and infrastructure and facilities for processing 840mmscfd of gas across fourteen states of the federation namely Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, Lagos, Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, Bauchi, Nassarawa, Zamfara, Niger, Plateau, Gombe, Jigawa states and the Federal Capital, Abuja.

Nigeria LNG is a consortium between state-run Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, Eni, TotalEnergies and Shell with a capacity of 22 million tonnes per year.

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