By: Chika Izuora
Minister of petroleum resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, has stated that all measures would be taken to safeguard oil assets and free passage of oil bearing vessels in the Gulf of Guinea just as the United States Navy report indicated high level risk in the region.
The US Navy intelligence report had revealed that in the first half of 2013 there were nine cases of hijacking in addition to 55 unauthorised vessel boarding, vessels fired upon and kidnappings. The minister who cited this report condemned the rising episodes of insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea while noting the threat it poses to Nigeria‚Äôs economic potentials.
Mrs Alison-Madueke while speaking at the First Nigerian Navy Offshore Patrol Vessel Africa Conference (OPV) in Lagos described the situation as unacceptable. The minister represented by the group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Engr Andrew Yakubu, noted that crude oil theft and illegal oil bunkering in the Gulf of Guinea has become a major source of concern to the federal government.
The minister emphasised that maritime security is not only¬† essential to maintaining the flow of revenue¬† from oil and gas but also impacts greatly on the region‚Äôs broader economic development adding that maritime resources such as fish, aquaculture and an intact ecosystem directly contribute to the livelihood of many Africans.
Providing a breakdown of oil and gas operations in the region, Mrs Alison-Madueke noted that the Gulf of Guinea consists of 15 countries with oil production exceeding 5.4 million barrels per day in 2012. She stressed that oil supply from the Gulf of Guinea region in 2011 was equivalent to 27 per cent of EU consumption and 29 per cent of total US petroleum consumption in the same year.