By Oscarline ONWUEMENYI
ABUJA – The Management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC and the leadership of the Nigerian Police have pledged to join forces in combating the menace of pipeline vandalism and security threats to key oil and gas facilities currently endangering the smooth operation of the petroleum industry.
This resolution was arrived at after a meeting between the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Engr. Austen Oniwon and the Acting Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Abubakar at the Louis Edet House in Abuja.
In his presentation, the NNPC GMD reeled out the alarming cases of pipeline vandalism across the country as well as the growing instances of attacks on operational staff of the Corporation which is posing a massive threat to the operation of the oil and gas industry at the downstream and upstream sectors.
Oniwon revealed that the advent of illegal bunkering, pipeline vandalism and product theft has massively impacted on the capacity of Nigeria’s massive oil and gas assets to function optimally, even as he called on the Police to assist the NNPC in the push to eradicate the intractable incidence of encroachment of pipeline right of way which has over time assumed a frightening dimension.
Oniwon explained that though the combined working capacity of all the 21 Pipelines and Product Marketing Company (PPMC) depots nationwide, excluding holding capacities at the refineries, can provide products sufficiency of up to 32 days for petrol, 65 days for kerosene and 42 days for diesel, the activities of the pipeline vandals have made it impossible for the facilities to function full blast.
Backed with data to buttress the point, the NNPC GMD informed that a total of 16,083 pipeline breaks were recorded within the last 10 years adding that while 398 pipeline breaks representing 2.4 per cent were due to ruptures, the activities of unpatriotic vandals accounted for 15,685 breaks which translates to about 97.5 percent of the total number of cases.
According to records obtained by our correspondent, the System 2E/2EX which conveys products from the Port Harcourt refinery to Aba- Enugu-Makurdi depots onwards to Yola-Enugu-Auchi appears to be the haven of pipeline vandalism in the country particularly the Port Harcourt-Aba/Isiala-Ngwa axis.
In all, 8,105 breaks were recorded along the system 2E within the period representing about 50.3 percent of the total number of petroleum products pipeline breaks in the country. The attacks left the NNPC with a cost of N78.15 billion in product loses and pipeline repairs.
The System 2A product pipeline route which conveys products from Warri-Benin-Suleja/Ore depots ranks second on the scale of pipeline break points with 3,259 cases representing about 20.2 percent of the total volume of products pipeline breaks in Nigeria. The figure also came with a loss of over N20.39 billion in products and pipeline repairs.
The System 2B which carries products from the Atlas Cove-Mosimi-Satelite-Ibadan-Ilorin depots recorded 2,440 breaks leading to a loss of over N73.6 billion in products and pipeline repairs.
On gas, Oniwon explained that the incessant attacks on the Trans Forcados Pipeline has rendered the TFP out of service since May 2009 thus making it impossible to evacuate crude oil/ condensate from some Shell operated facilities. “Currently over 300,000 bpd and 140mscfd is deferred and about 55 vandalized points so far repaired at a cost of N11 billion,” he said.
The NNPC revealed that it spent over US$42.952million to execute a two-phase repair work which started in September, 2009 on 74 damaged points in System 2C-1. Escravos –Warri Crude Oil Pipelines to enable the start up of the Warri and Kaduna refineries.
The GMD used the occasion to commiserate with the Acting IGP and the Police high command on the demise of his wife as well as the death of DIG John Haruna and some Police officers in the Jos helicopter crash.
In his remark, the IGP pledged the readiness of officers and men of the Force to work with the NNPC in achieving its mandate to the nation.
Mr. Abubakar also announced the formation of a special Police Anti-Pipeline vandalism Squad dedicated to the protection and security of the nation’s vast outlay of oil and gas pipelines.
He also declared what he termed “zero tolerance and no laxity on the issue of pipeline vandalism” and pledged to “deal with any officer who fails to perform” in this regard.
Mr. Abubakar thanked the GMD for his show of concern and solidarity with the Police at this trying time.