The group managing director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Maikanti Baru, says two pipelines have been vandalised 42 times in 2017 alone.
The NNPC boss made this known while delivering a keynote address at the maiden edition of the Nigerian International Pipeline Technology and Security Conference (NIPITECS 2017) in Abuja on Wednesday.
According to him, the two pipelines affected are Trans Forcados pipeline and Trans Niger Pipeline.
Baru said the Trans Forcados pipeline has been vandalised 15 times while the Trans Niger pipeline has been hit 27 times, adding that an average of 700,000 barrels of crude oil was deferred in 2016, which made production drop to 1.3 million barrels per day.
In February 2016, Shell, operators of the Trans Forcados pipeline, had declared a force majuere after the pipeline was vandalised. It only resumed operations in May 2017.
“The foregoing summarizes the effect of pipeline vandalism and therefore underscores the importance of protecting our pipeline system and treating them as national assets,” the statement signed by Ndu Ughamadu, NNPC spokesman, quoted Baru to have said.
“On the strength of that, we must endeavor to carry out a systematic diagnosis and proffer workable, practicable and actionable solutions that will guarantee sustainability of pipeline infrastructure.”
Baru also revealed the NNPC is not taking unconcerned by the activities of the vandals but has intensified measures to tackle pipeline vandalism.
Some of the measures he listed were horizontal directional drilling (HDD) technology to bury pipelines deeper to prevent easy accessibility; technology-based pipeline surveillance mechanism with the capability to detect, alert and deny access; and aerial monitoring and marine patrols by the military joint tax force (JTF).
He said the government was also working on finding a political solution to the “socially-induced-agitation sabotage while the law enforcement agencies had been empowered to deal with those who engage in pipeline vandalism out of criminality such as oil theft”.