At a two-day presentation made to senior Nigerian government officials, the NNPC provided details of how vandals have hindered the flow of petroleum products in its pipeline system, leading to product losses and repairs worth $US1.2 billion over the last 10 years.
Group Managing Director Dr Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo said that there had been a total of 16,083 pipeline breaks over the last ten years, 97.5 per cent of which were due to the activities of vandals. Vandalism is concentrated along the System 2E/2EX, which conveys petroleum products from the Port Harcourt refinery to Yola-Enugu-Auchi, via the Aba, Engu and Makurdi depots.
In addition, Dr Barkindo explained that attacks on the Trans Forcados Pipeline have rendered it unable to function since May 2009, making it impossible to export crude oil and condensate from some Shell operated facilities.
According to Dr Barkindo, “Vandalisation of oil and gas pipeline facilities remains the single most critical challenge facing our industry. The amnesty policy of government appears to be working but some criminal elements are still at work.”
In response, Chief of Defence Staff Air Marshall Paul Dike emphasised that the armed forces were committed to providing security cover for oil facilities in the country and suggested the introduction of electronic devices, in addition to armed personnel, to offer greater protection for pipelines.