Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
An indigenous oil firm, Aiteo, has raised the alarm over the continued attack on its pipelines by suspected crude oil thieves in the Niger Delta region.
Aiteo is the operator of the Nembe Creek Trunk Line (NCTL) which has a 117km pipeline, stretching from Bayelsa to Bonny in Rivers State, with 600,000 barrels per day design capacity.
Aiteo Managing Director, Victor Okorokwo, who disclosed this in Yenagoa during a presentation at the gathering of key players in the oil and gas industry, lamented that the activities of the crude oil thieves had forced the company to shut down cumulatively for two months losing about four million barrels of crude oil.
He said it is more worrisome that some of the suspects arrested and handed over to law enforcements agencies are not convicted.
“One of the biggest challenges we face in our operations is the security of our pipelines and oil facilities. Our pipelines and flow-lines are constantly vandalised by unscrupulous elements tagged: ‘crude oil thieves’, attempting to cause economic sabotage to our company and the people of this great country. Despite our efforts in raising NCTL from 60 percent to over 80 percent since acquisition, we have recorded more shutdown days in operations due to third party infractions for over two months this year compared to previous years.
“This has resulted in loss of revenue and deferments estimated at about four million barrels so far this year. Also worrying is the amount of crude loss recorded even when the pipeline is operational, usually in the range of 25 to 35 percent. More worrying is that even when the perpetrators of these acts are caught and handed over to security agencies, we are yet to witness any convictions.
“Remember, Aiteo operates the NCTL which also serves four other oil companies (Eroton, Newcross, Belema Oil and Shell) injecting into the pipeline, hence, when there are infractions on the line, these companies are also forced to shut-down; resulting in economic losses for these companies and the Federal Government.”
Despite all these challenges, Okorokwo, who described Aiteo as the best example of what local content can achieve, said the company has kept its commitment to Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) paying up to N1.52 billion in NCDMB fees and N1.5 billion as Niger Delta Development Commission levies while spending over N3.6 billion in community support programmes and projects.