From Uche Usim, abuja

As the battle against crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism is yielding positive results, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Mr. Timipre Sylva has said that Nigeria is on track to restore crude oil production to its total capacity of three million barrels per day within a very short time. time.

He said that the Federal Government was working closely with all local and international oil companies and relevant stakeholders to achieve the goal.

In recent months, improved security surveillance along major crude oil production lines has boosted production from a paltry 900,000 barrels a day to between 1.4 and 1.6 million barrels a day.

Prior to that, the country’s oil majors slashed production due to massive vandalism of pipelines and theft of crude oil in the Niger Delta region by criminal elements.

Speaking while receiving the new Managing Director of Eni SpA at his office in Abuja recently, Sylva reiterated again the Federal Government’s readiness to continue to improve security along the tracks of major crude oil pipelines and to block every leak through which crude is stolen by oil thieves and pipeline vandals.

“I am happy to hear from you (Eni) that you have increased your crude oil production to 15,000 barrels per day as a result of government efforts to protect pipelines in the region. I assure you that this trend will continue,” said the minister.

Sylva added that the Federal Government’s desire is “to see all the major oil companies in the country return to full production capacity to increase government revenue” and also to help the country meet its obligations to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. (OPEC). .

“We will continue working to bring stability and build confidence so that everyone returns to the field to produce their maximum capacity,” added the minister.

The Head of the Sub-Saharan Africa Region of Eni SpA, Mr. Mario Bello, in his brief remarks during the visit, said that the renewed confidence in the efforts of the Federal Government to restore sanity along the main crude oil pipelines in the Niger Delta has enabled the company to increase crude oil production from near-zero output to around 15,000 barrels per day in the past month.

“We are happy that the security situation is improving and we will be willing to fully return,” said Bello, adding that since last month the company has complained to the minister about vandalism and theft of its products, noting that as of from today. the situation has improved a lot.

“At one point, we were producing almost nothing, but today, with the improvement of the security situation along the pipelines, we can produce and export around 15,000 barrels of crude oil and, if this trend continues, we will be able to reach our 30,000 barrels. crude oil production,” he said.