The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has said Nigeria lost about N163 billion in the space of three years to pipeline vandalism.
The Executive Director, NNPC and Pipelines Products Marketing Company (PPMC), Mr. Gbenga Komolafe, explained that this loss would have been able to take care of the budget of two states in the country. Komolafe, during the business clinic of the petroleum downstream group of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), stressed that the situation has worsened geometrically and however expressed dismay at the unscrupulous act.
“Our records shows that the nation has lost a total of about N163 billion from crude oil and petroleum products pipeline losses from 2009-2012 alone not adding associated costs. This must not be allowed to continue. We cannot allow few bad people destroy what is collectively ours,” he said.
He added that the effect of pipeline vandalism is in three fold, which include economic sabotage, environmental degradation and destruction of national asset (pipeline).
He pointed out that despite its efforts at deterring the nefarious activities of vandals on the pipelines, the situation has not abated over the years, but said it had led to massive crude oil theft, disruption in pumping operations and environmental degradation, which consequently has constituted a huge drain on the running of its operations and indeed of the nation.
He stated that pipelines are renowned the world over as environmentally friendly, safest, cheapest and most efficient means of transporting crude oil and petroleum products, adding that in order to find a lasting solution to pipeline vandalism, PPMC will be deploying the use of Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) technology, which has been proven to be a more durable and effective method of burying pipeline especially through swarms and difficult terrain, as it provides a more attractive alternative to conventional methods, which are easy targets for vandals, especially in swampy areas.
In his words, “Horizontal directional drilling is an innovative trenchless construction method utilising equipment and techniques from horizontal oil well drilling technology and conventional road boring. As an environmentally friendly, safe and efficient alternative to conventional construction methods, HDD construction is used to install petroleum pipelines where conventional open trench construction is not feasible or difficult.”
He noted that pipeline vandalism is the illegal or unauthorised act of destroying or puncturing of oil pipeline with the intent to disrupt supply or to steal crude oil or its refined products for the purpose of appropriating it for personal use or for sale in the black market or any other outlet.
Also speaking at the event, the President, LCCI, Mr. Goodie Ibru, said pipeline vandalism has emerged as a new face of crime that has caused fuel scarcity, loss of lives during devastating explosions, loss of huge revenues, staggering sums are spent by the government on repairs of vandalised facilities and compensation to victims of explosions.
The LCCI Boss added that the twin evil of pipeline vandalism and crude oil theft is threatening enough to pose as a threat to the economy and maintained that vandals’ activities have become a major concern to all stakeholders and citizens.
“We are gathered today to seek for a permanent solution to this problem. It is pertinent to note that no one institution or law enforcement agency can cope with these challenges. It calls for all hands to be on deck as our prosperity as a nation is affected by these crimes,” he said.
The Chairman of the Group, Mr. Emma Osagie, said pipeline vandalism has been a major threat to the survival of the nation and its implication ranges from economic to social and political and said many of the nation’s strategic depots have been left idle and moribund for years as pipelines supplying products through them have been constantly under incessant attack by vandals.
“It is quite imperative for Nigerians to consider the oil and gas industry as a collective heritage. Its security should be a national affair and collective priority, with a view to avoiding further destruction of the legacy. As I speak, representatives of relevant authorities whom we have invited are here present to brainstorm on a permanent solution to this menace,” he added.