THE Senate has endorsed the award of N48 billion oil pipeline surveillance contract to a former militant leader in the Niger Delta, Government Ekpemupolo aka Tompolo.
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Upstream), Bassey Akpan, spoke to journalists today after presenting the committee’s report on “oil lifting, theft and the impact on petroleum production and oil revenues” at the plenary in Abuja.
He stressed that there was nothing wrong in the engagement of non-state actors to protect pipelines in the country if such move would achieve the desired results.
Akpan noted that since the engagement of Tompolo’s company to protect oil pipelines earlier this year, oil theft which had caused the decline in the country’s production capacity and loss of over $2 billion dollars had reduced.
The lawmaker said: “The recent pipeline surveillance contract given to a private security company is yielding positive results as the country’s oil production capacity has increased.
“There are both formal and informal approaches to solving the issue of oil theft. If that contract was contracted duly and processed, we don’t have any issue with it and if it yields desired outcomes, I don’t think there is anything wrong in it.
“We commend the NNPCL for the action. As we speak, the Forcado terminals have restored 500,000 barrels a day to our national production.”