FG moves to curb crude oil theft

By Oke Peter
The Federal Government has promised that by the end of this year, it will start conducting deoxyribonucleic acid fingerprinting of the country’s crude oil in order to identify theft and apprehend criminals.
The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, made this known during the inauguration of an ultra-modern Bio-Resources Laboratory and Feed Mill Complex in Odi, Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
Onu assured Nigerians that with the facilities at the newly-opened laboratory, oil theft would soon become a thing of the past.
He said the fingerprinting of the Nigerian crude oil would enable the country to track its crude oil anywhere when stolen and solve the problem of economic sabotage.
The minister stated, “I feel very happy with this ultra-modern laboratory. For me, Nigeria is changing. With this capacity here now, we will be able to do many things. I just gave them instruction that by the end of this year, we should have fingerprinting of our crude oil.
“With this measure, if anybody steals our crude oil, the government will be able to identify it, because even crude oil can have fingerprints and with the equipment we have here, we can do it in Nigeria.
“One problem that we have is that we rely on other people from outside to solve our problems. We produce crude oil, we export it, but we now import refined petroleum products.
‘’We export our woods and we bring in toothpicks. We don’t want that anymore and for you to do all these things we rely on others. We have to look inwards and we need to build capacity and that is what this facility is doing for us.
‘’I just mentioned to you now that you can do genome mapping of our rare crops, plants, animals that are unique to us. We can even fingerprint our own crude oil.
“Normally, this is something we spent a lot of money on and ask other people to do it. Now, when we do it here, it is our people that will do it. That is how to create jobs, that is how to create wealth because that money you could have spent outside will now be here and be used here. Even though we are the largest economy in Africa, we want to be bigger than where we are now.
“We also need to fight poverty; if you create jobs, you will fight poverty, if you train people, you fight poverty and that’s what they are doing here and I think we are ready to fight poverty.”
During a courtesy visit to the Bayelsa State Government in Yenagoa, the minister indicated that the Federal Government had concluded plans to establish an Oil and Gas Institute in the state.
Onu said the siting of the institute in Bayelsa was due to the immense contributions of the state in the oil and gas sector.
He added that the institute, when completed, would reduce unemployment, not only in the region but in the country as a whole.
‘’The oil and gas institute will not only create employment opportunities but it will also develop skills in the oil and gas sector which will help to revamp the nation’s economy,’’ Onu stated.
Also speaking, the Director-General of the Bio-Resources Centre, Josiah Habu, said the target of the research centre was to bring reliability, quality, originality, innovation and novelty to research and development.
He said the inauguration of the facilities had officially opened the gateway to a higher level of bio-resources prospecting and processing of new products and services to support local content and bio-economy to diversify the sources of income for collective good.
Habu, who corroborated the minister’s standpoint, said, “For a start, the quest for the DNA of Nigeria’s crude oil will soon be answered in order to ensure tracking of Nigeria crude oil flow globally, hence solve the national problem of economic sabotage.”
Source: Federal Ministry of Science and Technology   
Photo: Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, Minister of Science and Technology

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