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Nigeria continues to bleed from pipeline vandalism

Pipeline vandalism is the willful act or deliberate act of damaging petroleum products pipelines with the sole aim of stealing crude oil and associated petroleum products. Pipeline vandalism often leaves in its trail a myriad of problems including massive bleeding of the economy as a result of losses from pipeline shutdowns cum shut-ins in the case of upstream operations as well as losses arising from barefaced theft of crude oil and other petroleum products.

Besides loss of lives, property and environmental degradation are all resultant effects of pipeline vandalism.

According to January 2019 edition of the Monthly Financial and Operations reports of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), a total of 231 pipeline points were vandalised across the country. While Mosimi-Ibadan and Ibadan-Ilorin lines accounted for 67 and 62 vandalised points respectively, representing 29 and 27 per cent of the total pulverised points, the Aba-Enugu accounted for 30 vandalised points or 13 per cent of the total vandalised lines while line breaks in other locations represented the balance of 31 per cent of total line breaks throughout the country.

Six months after, in its June 2019 monthly report, NNPC recorded a 77 per cent rise in oil pipeline vandalism and recorded 106 pipeline breaches up from 60 breaches in May.

In April 2019, AITEO declared force majeure, on its 97 kilometer 150,000 barrels per day Nembe Creek Trunk Line which leads to the export terminal at Bonny Island, Rivers State, due to third party interference.

The company’s spokesman, Mathew Ndiana-Abasi stated that “We have been informed of a fire outbreak by our surveillance team comprising the JTF, FSS around NCTL RoW near Awoba today, 21 April 2019. Our Operations Emergency Response team was immediately activated and following its urgent intervention and containment action, we are constrained to shut in injection as well as other related operations into the NCTL.

In accordance with standard procedure, we requested the other injectors to do same.“The NCTL has, hitherto, enjoyed smooth operations preceding this incident, founding suspicion that this fire may have occurred through an illegitimate, third-party breach of the functionality of the pipeline, critical national asset.”

On the 9th September 2019, the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) cried out for help from government, communities and other stakeholders to address the loss of 10,000 barrels of crude oil worth $560,000 daily from its pipelines to crude oil theft, vandalism.

“These are critical national assets with 55 per cent government interest and they produce the crude oil that accounts for over 90 per cent of Nigeria’s foreign exchange and the bulk of government revenue. Hurting these assets means hurting the nation’s revenue, the economy of the states, the health of the people and the environment,” SPDC’s General Manager, External Relations, Igo Weli, said during a media workshop on Pipelines Right of Way Encroachment and Vandalism held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

“Crude oil theft on the pipeline network resulted in a loss of around 11,000 barrels of oil a day in 2018, which is more than the approximate 9,000 bbl/d in 2017”, Weli said, adding that since 2012, SPDC had removed more than 1,160 illegal theft points on its joint venture pipelines in the Niger Delta.

Despite measures by the government to safe face by entrusting private security contractors to monitor pipelines, the country continues to bleed as its revenue from oil continues to go south and environmental degradation continues to worsen especially in the Niger delta region.

Source: Tribune