April 16, 2024

Oil Sector debacle : Reps condemn rising incidences of pipelines destruction, opaque operations

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Adebayo Obajemu

The House of Representatives has condemned the intermittent destruction of oil and gas pipelines in the country and proverbial absence of transparency in the operations and regulatory activities in the sector.

Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, chairperson, Special Committee on Oil Theft, condemned the act at a meeting with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Ltd in Abuja.

The engagement was to unravel the root cause of oil theft in the country and the possible solution to stop the menace.

Mr Ado-Doguwa said it had been established and a common knowledge that operating oil and gas pipelines in Nigeria constituted a herculean challenge.

“It is saddening to note 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.

He said that the opacity and non-transparency of regulatory activities at the nation’s 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.

“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,” he added

Mele Kyari, the Group Managing Director, NNPC Ltd, said no fewer than 9000 infractions on its pipeline was recorded in one year.

He said between 2022 to date, the corporation had deactivated 6,465 illegal refineries, while 4,876 illegal connections to a pipeline were removed out of the 5,570 that were discovered.

“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.

“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 meters from the settlement, some are even less than a hundred meters from the local government headquarters,” he said.

He noted that notwithstanding the distance, the evils were being perpetrated unabated, noting that this had made it impossible to guarantee the production that would happen the next day.

He said that the key issue had been security, saying the NNPC had 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.

NAN reports that the federal government says more than N4.3 trillion worth of crude oil was stolen in 7,143 pipeline vandalism cases within a period of five years.

The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) disclosed that in five years, from 2017 to 2021, Nigeria recorded 7,143 cases of pipeline breakages and deliberate vandalism resulting in crude theft and product losses of 208.639 million barrels valued at 12.74 million dollars or N4.325 trillion.

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