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Improved Global Collaboration, Technology, Will Scrap Oil Theft, Pipeline Vandalism – Kyari

…As NNPC Records 45,347 Pipeline Breaks in 18 Years

The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mallam Mele Kyari, has said that the gradual reduction in incidences of pipeline vandalism and crude oil theft would be sustained through improved collaboration, implementation of what he called global memorandum of understanding, and deployment of appropriate technologies, among other measures.

Speaking yesterday in Abuja at the inaugural Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) Policy Dialogue, Kyari lamented that NNPC, as an operator, had suffered severe attacks on its facilities and assets, noting that between 2001 and half year 2019, NNPC had recorded a total of 45,347 pipeline breaks on its downstream pipeline network across the country.

According to him, oil theft had remained a challenge in the oil industry in Nigeria despite some strong interventions in the past. He informed, however that the NNPC has laid out steps to mitigate the raging twin menace of pipeline vandalism and crude oil theft.

Represented at the event by NNPC’s Chief Operating Officer, Upstream, Mr. Roland Ewubare, the NNPC boss listed other measures to curb the menace to include: a security architecture with single accountability for national critical infrastructure; industry and regulatory commitment to transparent crude oil and products accounting; realistic expectation by host communities; and emplacement of sustainable social investment mechanism. 

He emphasized the need to inculcate shared values of integrity and transparency across every level of the governance structure for pipeline security, policy refill and enforcement of legal actions on economic saboteurs.

The NNPC GMD also harped on the need to prioritize and instill in the nation’s teeming youth, a sense of patriotism and national orientation. On the immediate and remote causes of oil theft and pipeline vandalism, the GMD posited that most stakeholders were of the view that oil theft was essentially a social problem which underlying causes include: poverty in the communities, community-Industry expectation mismatch and corruption.

Others, he noted, include: ineffective  law enforcement, poor governance, poor  prosecution  of  offenders,  high rate of  unemplyment  in  the communities,  thriving  illegal oil  market involving both Nigerians and foreigners, as well as inadequate funding of resources to combat oil theft.

Kyari said that for the Nigerian economy to prosper, NNPC and other oil companies must be able to operate efficiently and profitably.

“Unfortunately, the combination of crude oil theft, illegal refining and pipeline vandalism, has become a major threat to Nigeria in meeting its revenue projections in recent time,” he said.

Also in his presentation, Edo State Governor and chairman of the National Economic Council (NEC) ad-hoc committee on crude oil theft, prevention and control, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, stressed the need to institute a proper governance structure for pipeline security in the Industry.

Gov. Obaseki called on the Nigerian Intelligence Agency (NIA) to work with the NNPC in identifying possible international markets and destinations of stolen Nigerian crude oil.

According to him, the industry must end the prevailing incentives that make it possible for crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism to flourish.

The governor disclosed that the NEC had upgraded the ad-hoc committee on crude theft to a standing committee with mandate to provide regular updates to NEC as may be required.

Earlier in his welcome address, the executive secretary of NEITI, Mr. Waziri Adio, had provided gory statistics on the situation, even as he challenged participants at the policy dialogue to come up with practical solutions.

The theme of this year’s Dialogue is: “Stemming the Increasing Cost of Oil Theft to Nigeria”.