How White Dove Altered The Dynamics Of Crude Oil Operations, By Mitigating Theft And Enhancing Earning

THE threat of crude theft has remained one of the banes of Nigeria’s oil and gas sector, to the extent that experts suggest Nigeria’s economy would suffer as long as its key income source is consistently hampered.

Gbenga Komolafe, the head of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), recently revealed that crude oil theft cost Nigeria $1 billion in income in the first quarter of 2022. He also quipped that the scenario posed a danger to Africa’s leading oil producer’s economy.

According to Komolafe, out of the 141 million barrels of oil produced in the first quarter of 2022, only about 132 million barrels of oil were received at export terminals, implying that nine million barrels of oil were lost to crude oil theft.

The lure of crude oil theft means it won’t abate soon. As vandals continue to hit pipelines in what is apparently a lucrative business, Nigeria’s revenue earning capacity continues to dwindle. The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited recently reported that N32.56 billion was spent on pipeline security and maintenance due to rising incidents of vandalism and frequency of maintenance.

Though some energy experts have proffered ways to prevent oil theft through bunkering with suggestions such as, the installation of a heating oil tank alarm; CCTV installations around the facilities; security lighting; and others, the dexterity of the crude oil thieves means that they can circumvent some of the measures suggested.

The need to effectively tackle this menace and shore-up Nigeria’s revenue earning capacity led to the birth of White Dove Shipping Limited, A member of the Obijackson Group and its Alternative Evacuation solution. This simply involves the movement of crude oil from the point of production to the point of exportation through barges and vessels.

This innovative approach has been deployed in the Niger Delta and has proven to be a disruptor to crude oil theft, with oil producers now certain that what they produce will get to the point of exportation.

According to Chiemezie Ejinima, the Chief Executive Officer of White Dove Shipping Company, in a recent virtual media chat, the company’s pioneering efforts to end the threat were to efficiently respond to the crude evacuation demands of the country’s crudeproducers.

Asides from helping to ensure that Nigeria’s oil revenue prospects are improved through its Alternative Evacuation solution, it created jobs for Nigerians in the highly competitive maritime sector. He described the shipping sector as an important commercial sector capable of employing thousands of Nigerians. “White Dove was able to create employment for Nigerians by identifying a subset of the shipping sector – crude evacuation – that wasn’t active and made it active, thus filling the gap in the value chain, which is why it has over 90 percent local workers with plans to continue to grow the capacity of local seafarers and maritime workers.”

He added “Our vessels are manned by Nigerians and we partner with the Nigeria Maritime Academy, Seafarers and other players to boost local expertise and capacity as we want to grow our local content in the near future.”

Despite the sector being capital intensive, Ejinima said the company remained focused on its five-year strategic growth plan, which would see it increase capacity from evacuating 50,000 bpd to 150,000 BPD.

Despite the maritime potential and the array of business endeavors that contribute to the growth of Nigeria’s GDP, Ejinima explained that White Dove chose to focus on crude evacuation due to its huge economic potential for the country, and the need for crude producers to get value for their investments.  Adding that with alternative crude evacuation, oil companies are assured of retaining their crude volumes from the point of production to the point of exportation and it also boosts the revenue accruable to the government as more royalties and taxes will be paid.

According to him, the huge capital-intensive nature of the sector, characterized by high acquisition and operating costs, remains one of the major reasons why foreign shipping companies still dominate, but as supportive banks provide access to funding, more local players can begin to thrive in the sector.

“The age and accessibility of pipelines for crude transportation led to breaches and vandalism, thus creating the need for an alternative evacuation system through barges, tankers, and other vessels. We (Whitedove) came in to ensure proper crude evacuation from the point of production to the point of export and our various vessels and transportation modes help to ensure that oil producers can be certain about the quantity of their products end-to-end,” Ejinima.

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