The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has said the activities of vandals who break into pipelines to steal petroleum products could cripple the downstream sector of the industry if left unchecked.
The Group Managing Director, NNPC, Mr. Andrew Yakubu, was quoted as saying in a statement made available to our correspondent on Wednesday that in less than five months, the corporationâ€™s pipelines were broken in 774 places by vandals.
Yakubu said this at the 3rd Triennial Delegates Conference of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association in Abuja on Wednesday.
According to him, less than one week after the vital System 2B was restored through extensive repair work on the ruptured Arepo point in Ogun State, the corporation was compelled to shut the line again due to Mondayâ€™s attack on the Ije-Ododo point in Lagos State.
He lamented the unending incidents of pipeline hacking and product theft, which he said posed great danger to the efficient distribution and supply of petroleum products in some parts of the country.
If left unchecked, he added, the nefarious activities of pipeline marauders could cripple the smooth operation of the downstream sector of the industry.
Yakubu said, â€œWe had over 774 break points since August 2012 from Atlas Cove to the Ilorin depot. Between Atlas Cove and the Mosimi depot, we recorded 181 break points; from Mosimi to Ibadan, we had 421 ruptured points; and from Mosimi to Ore, we recorded 50 vandalised points. Also, between Ibadan and Ilorin, we had a total of 122 break points.
â€œThese are critical national assets and we must begin to see them in that light. PIB or no PIB, privatisation or no privatisation, no industry can survive under this kind of arrangement.
â€œWe have a fallback strategy, which we have already activated to ensure uninterrupted supply of products. Donâ€™t forget that we had the worst time when the line was shut completely in August after the Arepo incident, but we have restored the line and it started working and Nigerians felt the impact, only for the vandals to strike again.â€
Yakubu said although NNPC was working hard to ensure effective distribution of petroleum products across the country through increased trucking, the option came with enormous cost and was totally unsustainable.
Records indicate that with the incessant attacks on the nationâ€™s vast artery of pipelines about 70 per cent of products distribution is through trucking or what is known in the industry as bridging into the hinterlands.
This requires massive fleets of petroleum product trucks of up to 1, 212 trucks load out from the depots every day to meet the daily estimated national consumption.
At an average vehicle turnaround of about eight to 10 days from the South to the North and return, a minimum of 10,000 trucks are required to ply the roads daily.