By Michael Eboh
ABUJA — GOVERNMENT lost about N2.04 billion ($12 million) over the last four days, while the power situation in the country is expected to drop by about 1,505 megawatts over the next couple of days, as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, yesterday, said that the Escravos-Lagos pipeline has been vandalised by saboteurs.
Group Executive Director, Gas and Power of the NNPC, Mr. David Ige, in a statement signed by Mr. Ohi Alegbe, Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, NNPC, lamented the recent increase in the attack on crude oil and gas pipelines across the country, stating that the country is losing about 60,000 barrels of crude oil and condensates daily whenever there is a pipeline break.
According to Ige, the Escravos-Lagos gas pipeline was vandalised over the weekend, with four breaks.
With a crude price of about $50 per barrel, the loss of 60,000 barrels of crude oil per day translates to a loss of about $3 million or N510 million per day. For the four days that the pipeline had been damaged, it is expected that the country would have lost about N2.04 billion following the shut down of the pipeline for repairs.
Power situation to worsen
Apart from the loss of revenue from crude sales, Ige further stated that power situation is expected to worsen in the coming days as a number of power plants relying on gas supply from the pipeline will be starved of gas to generate electricity.
He said: “Each time a gas pipeline was brought down by the vandals, power supply across the country drops which adversely affects economic activities across the length and breadth of the nation.”
The Escravos-Lagos pipeline is capable of transporting about 200 million metric cubic feet of gas per day, translating to about 1,505 megawatts of electricity.
Ige said the sudden increase in the activities of saboteurs around the Trans-Forcados pipeline and the Escravos-Lagos pipeline in the last six weeks has robbed the nation of several billions of naira to the detriment of the national economy.
He lamented the huge resources the country is losing on a daily basis to these sabotage, claiming that there appears to be a syndicate behind the economic sabotage.
He said: “Most of the power plants, including the Calabar, Alaoji, Omoku, and Olorunsogo, among others, have been connected to gas. All efforts of the Federal Government to construct unprecedented massive gas pipeline infrastructure are being sabotaged by pipeline vandals.”
Trans-Forcados pipeline vandalised 4 times
He lamented that between January and February 2015 alone, the Trans-Forcados crude oil pipeline was attacked and vandalised four times, adding that none of the corporation’s gas pipelines has been able to run two straight days without being brought down.
Ige, however, stated that the NNPC was exploring a number of options on how to tackle the pipeline vandalism menace, ranging from an aggressive community engagement to installation of technological gadgets to stave off the vandals.
He called for a holistic approach to resolving the pipeline vandalism scourge ranging from tightening security to expeditious judicial enforcement, to bring to an end the menace which has deprived the country of several billions of revenue.