The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said yesterday that it recorded 1,447 incidences of pipeline vandalism across the country resulting in the loss of millions of litres of products worth billions of naira in 2016 alone.
NNPC’s Group Managing Director, Dr Maikanti Baru disclosed this when he paid a courtesy call on the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin in his office.
According to Baru, “In 2015, Nigeria lost 643 million litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) valued at N51.3 billion through pipeline vandalism alone.
He said the volume of products lost through vandalism of oil and gas infrastructure alone underscored the need for stakeholders especially security agencies to devise more effective strategies to address the menace.
Acknowledging that security agencies were doing much to address the menace, the GMD said the persistence of oil thieves and saboteurs was affecting even the 2016 budget implementation.
His words: “The supply and distribution of Nigeria’s oil and gas resources remain critical to the survival of our economy but it is saddening to note that these critical national assets have become targets of vandalism and sabotage.
“The budget plan of the Federal Government is grossly affected as a result of the development because of the shortage presently estimated at 700,000 barrels per day.
“The gas to power projections of government is also being hampered due to the activities of the vandals.
“In 2015 alone, pipeline losses of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) in volume of 643 million litres valued at about N51.3 bn was recorded, while 1,447 incidences of vandalism was reported so far in 2016.”
Baru said the impact of the development on the economy could be seen in the areas of degradation, unnecessary loss of lives, and high cost of production among others.
He said a review of the security architecture of the protection of critical infrastructure in the Niger delta was required to prevent the economy from further hemorrhage.
The GMD sought improved collaboration with security agencies and the military in particular to prevent further damage to oil and gas facilities in the Niger Delta region.
He also solicited the support of the military for NNPC to resume exploration activities in the Benue trough and the Chad Basin.
Baru further sought better security arrangement for NNPC’s strategic business partners in the Niger Delta and other parts of the country.
He pledged NNPC’s support and cooperation for security agencies working to curb activities of vandals and saboteurs in the oil and gas industry.
Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin in his remarks, pledged to work closely with NNPC and its partners to better protect oil and gas infrastructure in the Niger Delta.
He said the reinvigorated military operation in the Niger Delta was tailored towards better performance and efficiency on the part of the military.
Olonisakin assured his guest that the business environment in the Niger Delta would soon be made conducive for operators in the oil and gas sector.
He added that exploration activities in the northern part of the country would resume as soon as the region was completely rid of terrorists and their cohorts.
“In the Operation Delta Safe, we try to limit it to some areas so that their efforts can be able to address the challenge with our oil infrastructure.
“We need to fine tune the plan for the private security arrangement for the protection of oil and gas pipelines, we are not averse to the plan but we need it to be fine-tuned.
He pointed out that in the Lake Chad basin, the military is carrying out an operation in that area, to conclude the operation before we can allow anybody to go in there and carry out exploration activities.
“The operation is scheduled for about 60 days so at the end of the operation we will inform you so that your people can move in and start exploration,” he said.
The CDS said the Armed Forces remained committed in supporting government actualize its agenda for the economy and the security of lives and property.