By Uche Usim, and Adewale Sanyaolu
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) yesterday, disclosed that an average of 700,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil was deferred in 2016 due to incessant pipeline sabotage, which brought Nigeria’s production down to as low as 1.3 million bpd from 2.2 million barrels targeted for the period.
The Group Managing Director, NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, made the disclosure in a keynote address at the maiden edition of the Nigerian International Pipeline Technology and Security Conference (NIPITECS 2017) in Abuja.
According to him, from 2016 to date, NNPC recorded 27 breaching incidents on the Trans-Niger Pipeline (TNP), stressing that the Trans-Forcados Pipeline (TFP) with a capacity of 300,000bpd alone witnessed 17 breaches in 2016.
Baru further declared that year-to-date 2017, NNPC had suffered at least 15 breaching incidents on the TFP, while charging members of the Pipeline Professionals’ Association of Nigeria (PLAN) to conduct a systematic diagnosis of the pipelines system in Nigeria to come up with sustainable and actionable solutions to the menace of pipeline vandalism in the country.
He urged all key players to rally round the Pipeline Professionals to proffer solutions to the pipeline vandalism challenge as it posed a great threat to the Nigerian economy in terms of revenue loss and environmental degradation.
“The foregoing summarises the effect of pipeline vandalism and therefore underscores the importance of protecting our pipeline system and treating them as national assets. On the strength of that, we must endeavour to carry out a systematic diagnosis and proffer workable, practicable and actionable solutions that will guarantee sustainability of pipeline infrastructure,” Baru said.
He listed some of the measures deployed by NNPC to stem the tide of pipeline vandalism to include Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) technology to bury pipelines deeper to prevent easy accessibility; technology-based pipeline surveillance mechanism with capability to detect, alert and deny access; and aerial monitoring and marine patrols by the Military Joint Tax Force (JTF).
The NNPC boss further said government was working out a political solution to the socially-induced-agitation sabotage while the law enforcement agencies have been empowered to deal with those that engage in pipeline vandalism out of criminality such as oil theft.
Speaking earlier on the significance of the conference, Chairman of PLAN, Geoff Onuoha, said considering the critical role of pipelines to the entire value chain of the oil and gas industry, there was need for a forum like NIPITECS to bring professionals and stakeholders together to brainstorm and share knowledge and technology.
Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Simbi Wabote, who also spoke at the occasion, said the board was working hard to boost local production of pipes, adding that its efforts were already yielding dividends as Nigeria now has two world-class pipe mills in full operation.
For his part, the Director General of Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), Chidi Izuwah, challenged industry players to tap into the opportunities in Public Private Partnership (PPP) to boost pipeline and other infrastructure in the country.