By MICHAEL EBOH
The Federal Government has said that it will soon begin the surveillance of Nigeria’s pipelines with aircraft manned by Nigerian pilots, trained under the Petroleum Technology Development Fund, PTDF programme.
Speaking at the Upstream and Downstream Oil and Gas Exhibition and Conference, in Abuja, Mr. Oluwole Oluleye, Executive Secretary, PTDF, who expressed government’s concern with the increasing rate of crude theft in the country, said the pilots are effectively trained in line with international standards to help in the fight against crude theft and pipeline vandalism.
Oluleye, represented by Mr. Jacob Neeka, Head, Research and Documentation, PTDF, said the pilots will be contracted to survey the pipelines right of way in order to monitor the pipelines, identify crude theft points and provide the necessary information for the federal Government to take the requisite action.
He further stated that the PTDF is also collaborating with the military in ensuring the effective surveillance of pipelines and petroleum assets across the country.
He said, “PTDF has undertaken the training of 20 Nigerians as pilots. They will do the real surveillance, through piloting of our oil and pipelines right of way and other facilities in the country.
“The reason is because we have to sustain oil and gas facilities. We have to ensure that they are well protected. Of course, if we have pilots that can carry out that responsibility, it is a huge contribution in saving the cost of maintenance, repair or replacement of some of the broken down pipelines.
“PTDF is actually contributing towards that direction and I believe that over time, we are going to come to the front burner to ensure that Nigerians get the recognition and value addition for money.
“We trained even military personnel in our scholarship programmes in some of the trainings that will help them maintain effective surveillance activities across our pipeline right of ways in the country. Collaboration is ongoing and is effective too.”
Also speaking, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Mr. Pius Anyim, bemoaned the rising incidence of crude theft in Nigeria, saying it is negatively affecting the revenue accruable to the country.
Anyim, who was represented by his Permanent Secretary, Special Duties, Mrs. Jemila Shwara, called for concerted effort to stop the menace, saying, “Crude theft is not insurmountable. All hands must be on deck to put in place a hitch-free process in the sector that will tackle the menace and also help grow the sector.
He said the Federal Government is desirous of an effective service delivery system in the oil and gas sector, adding that the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, when passed will stimulate growth in the oil industry and the economy in general, while also strengthening the capacity of indigenous companies to compete globally.