Uche Usim and Adewale Sanyaolu
Efforts to nip the activities of pipeline vandals appears to have defied all solutions as the the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) yesterday, disclosed that it recorded a total of 45,347 pipeline breaks on its downstream pipeline network in 18 years (2001 and half year 2019).
NNPC Group Managing Director, Mallam Mele Kyari, gave the scary statistics in a keynote address at the Nigeria International Pipeline Technology and Security Conference and Exhibition organized by the Pipelines Professionals Association of Nigeria (PLAN) in Abuja on Wednesday.
He said in 2018 alone, a total of 19 fire incidents were recorded on the petroleum products pipelines. He noted that, the theme of this year’s conference, Pipeline Assets: Critical Backbone for Socio-Economic Development, resonated with the thinking at the NNPC on the need to reinforce the narrative of the critical role of pipeline assets to the nation’s energy security and economic progress.
He posited that it was difficult for the oil and gas industry to deliver much value to the economy without effective and efficient pipelines operations.
“As a major player in the oil and gas industry, NNPC operates over 5,000 kilometers of pipelines traversing many communities to link terminals, three refineries and 20 depots for efficient transportation of crude oil and refined products. In addition, NNPC has over 1,700 kilometers of natural gas pipelines to supply gas to power plants and gas-based industries, including deliveries to trans-national reception points,” the GMD quipped.
He lamented that these huge pipeline assets have become difficult to operate efficiently as a result of incessant activities of vandals and other criminal syndicates that were becoming increasingly sophisticated.
The NNPC helmsman said the corporation was ready to collaborate with PLAN and all stakeholders to respond aggressively to incidences of pipeline vandalism in the country with a view to mitigating them.
In a related development, NNPC and the Nigerian Navy have pledged to deepen collaboration to tackle the menace of crude oil theft and attacks on oil and gas facilities.
The two organisations came to the resolution when Kyari paid a courtesy visit to the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas at the Naval Headquarters on Wednesday.
Speaking at the meeting, Kyari expressed gratitude to the Navy for its efforts at securing the nation’s oil and gas facilities in the creeks and deepwater.
He said while the intervention of the Navy had brought some sanity to the system, there was need to do more as crude oil theft was still a potent reality in the nation’s oil and gas industry.
He said NNPC was ready to support the Navy in any initiative it could come up with to further check the menace.