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NNPC to Spend N800m on Repair of Ruptured Gas Pipelines

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Monday disclosed that it would commit about N800 million of its funds to offset the cost of repairing ruptured points on about 110 kilometres of its pipelines that convey gas and crude oil condensates. While briefing journalists on the status of gas supply to Nigeria’s power sector vis-à-vis the effects of vandalism on crucial pipeline networks that transport gas to existing thermal power plants in the country, the corporation stated that about 480 metric million standard cubic feet of gas supply per day (mmsf/d), which is equivalent to 1600 megawatts (MW) of power, was currently lost to acts of vandalism on these pipelines. The Group Managing Director (GMD) of NNPC, Andrew Yakubu, told journalists in Abuja, that majority of the gas supply shortfalls were traceable to the Escravos-Warri ELPS A pipeline which loses about 190mmcf/d and Trans-Forcados crude pipeline losing 230mmcf/d; both pipelines are approximately 60 kilometres and 50 kilometres long respectively. He noted that the remaining supply shortfall was due to maintenance issues at Utorogu gas plant and that contributes to a loss of 60mmcf/d. Also for Escravos-Warri ELPS A pipeline, Yakubu explained that about 20 different ruptured points were discovered with various magnitudes of damages, adding that ongoing repair works on the pipelines were due for completion. Flanked by the corporation’s Group Executive Director Gas and Power, Dr. David Ige, amongst others, Yakubu said: “When the initial assessment was done before we realised that there were many other points, the assessment was pegged at about N200 million for the interventions. “But as we speak today because of the multiple segments that were discovered later we are as at today about N800 million and that is exactly the situation as I speak today and before the close of the contract if we pressure test and the lines are certified ok and we are able to flow gas then we will sit down and assess the total cost of repair and then we will now demobilise the contractor.” Yakubu had before handing over proceeding to Ige to make further clarification on status of gas supply, explained that the corporation now considers such acts of vandalism on its gas pipelines as sabotage, adding that its perpetrators have now taken to wilful vandalisation of its gas pipelines. Ige on his part stated that: “The gas sector has been faced with a major challenge in pipeline vandalism and this has significantly eroded available gas supply to the power plants. The consequence of this was the current situation of sub-optimal supply of electricity to Nigerians. As at the last weekend, over 30 per cent (480MMsf/d) of the installed gas supply capacity was out due mainly to vandalism. This is equivalent to the gas requirement to generate about 1,600MW of electricity.” “The pipelines involved are the Escravos-Warri ELPS A pipeline (190mmcf/d), the Trans-Forcados crude pipeline (230mmcf/d). The remaining supply shortfall is due to maintenance issues at Utorogu gas plant (60mmcf/d). The outage of the ELPS A pipeline has been on for over 6 months due to a wilful act of vandalism at various locations between Escravos and Egwa location,” he added. He however assured that with its ongoing test-run on the repaired pipelines, gas supply through them will be restored to connected thermal plants within the next five weeks. “At the last count, 20 ruptured points have been identified, all due to deliberate dynamite explosion. NGC completed repairs in November and on commissioning in December, rapid pressure loss was experienced indicating further rupture in weakened locations. We have since effected repair of these new points and re-commenced commissioning activities. It is expected that, all things being equal, gas supply will be reinstated in the next three to five weeks,” Ige said. He added that: “It is important to explain to Nigerians the complexity of effecting repairs when a pipeline is ruptured in the swamp. It is a complex, expensive and time consuming process but we will start seeing improvements in gas supply to power between three to five weeks, following the interventions. “Sabotage is suspected in the matter because when dynamites are used there is no other thing to suspect but sabotage. Unlike crude oil theft where the money making is the motive, gas pipeline rupture is sabotage.”

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