March 13, 2024

Oil Theft: We recorded 9000 infractions on pipelines in one year — NNPC

Gas projects


By Gift ChapiOdekina, Abuja

The Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Ltd., Mr. Mele Kyari, has said in one year it recorded 9000 infractions on the pipeline. 

Kyari said this when the House of Representatives Special Committee on Oil Theft went on an oversight function at the headquarters of NNPC Ltd. in Abuja on Wednesday. 

According to him, from 2022 to date, we have deactivated 6,465 illegal refineries. We have also removed 4,876 illegal connections to a pipeline out of 5,570 that we have discovered. 

He added that the NNPC was not sure if that was the actual number, adding that it still has about a thousand that the corporation knew had not yet been removed.

“Some of the scale of the infraction that we see is unbelievable; we are not able to deal with it. When you remove one connection, the next day in the same location, someone will replace it. 

He said, “It is obvious that crude oil theft is almost an end-to-end issue in Nigeria; it is very obvious that everyone is involved. 

“In most of these locations, they are less than a hundred metres from the settlement; some are even less than a hundred metres from the local government headquarters.

He said that notwithstanding the distance, these evils are being perpetrated unabated, adding that this makes it impossible to guarantee the production that would happen the next day. 

He added that the key issue had been security, adding that the NNPC moved to curtail the menace of pipeline vandals by incorporating all security agencies into a single platform, including private security.

According to him, no country surrenders the protection of such critical assets, which are our source of income, to non-state actors. 

He said, “It is very obvious that despite all the integrity issues with our pipeline and our facilities, we have capacity beyond 2 million barrels per day without doing anything.

“But today, we are struggling to meet the budget estimate of 1.6 million barrels per day. This by no means is related to crude oil theft; no, it’s not true, but the core issue that is affecting the other core issue is crude theft.

“No one will produce oil, knowing fully well that he cannot dispose of it, and that’s why no one is putting money into it. 

“In 2022, it became so obvious that if something dramatic is not done, we are going to run into trouble. On a specific date, our production came down to as low as 1.1 million barrels per day.

“And on a particular date, we have gone below a million barrels to explain this except for the infraction and especially the oil thief.

Speaking, the Chairman of the Special Committee, Rep. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, said it was established and common knowledge that operating oil and gas pipelines in Nigeria constituted a herculean challenge.

He said, “Necessarily a week or even a few days go by without an infraction or damage to an oil and/or gas pipeline in the country.”

According to him, it is also saddening that these infractions do not stop with the pipelines; daily breaches are also recorded at the oil well heads, flow stations, loading, and export terminals, among others. 

He said the opacity and non-transparency of regulatory activities at our crude oil export terminals were alarming. 

“We are compiling the facts and figures. Instances where approvals are hastily granted to vessels involved in crude theft just to cover official complicity are reported.

He said, “incidences of undeclared liftings are noted, and all these and several other infractions, particularly in our offshore marine environment, contribute to the huge volume of crude oil theft being reported. 

According to him, it is indisputable that Nigeria has been bedeviled by crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism of enormous proportions, most of which occurs within the Niger Delta region.