NNPC Intensifies Efforts to Protect Pipelines
By Dipo Olowookere
Efforts to safeguard pipelines across the country from vandals and fire outbreaks in line with best safety practices have been intensified by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
Group Managing Director of NNPC, Dr Maikanti Baru, disclosed that this was his agency’s determination to ensure that the current steady supply of petroleum products nationwide was sustained.
Speaking while receiving a delegation of the Occupational Safety and Health Association, (OSHA) UK, Nigeria Chapter, at the NNPC Towers, Abuja, Mr Baru said the corporation would continue to monitor its pipelines and collaborate with the law enforcement agencies to safeguard such critical national asset.
He noted that in line with safety standards, NNPC pipelines right-of-way across all locations had been clearly indicated to keep members of the public away from the facilities so as not to come to harm.
“In our various pipelines running across several kilometres and locations, right-of- way is indicated to show that people should not temper with the facility because of the danger that is involved. This is done to ensure that when there is safety breach, we have access to the affected spot and intervene accordingly,” the GMD stated.
He disclosed that an attack on the Port Harcourt – Aba a few days ago resulted in massive products loss and damage to the environment, adding that though there was no loss of lives in the incident, it took much effort and time to bring the huge fire that broke out under control.
“We will use this opportunity to call on pipeline vandals to please keep away from our pipeline because they are not carrying liquid that can easily be handled like water. We are calling on the general public that when they see the sign on the pipeline, they should not temper with in their own interest and that of the nation,” Dr Baru pleaded.
He said the corporation would stop at nothing to ensure that the pipelines were continuously monitored and that anybody caught trying to sabotage oil facilities would be handed over to the law enforcement agency to face appropriate sanctions, adding that in the Port-Harcourt – Aba pipeline incident one suspect was apprehended and handed over to the authorities.
Mr Baru urged members of the public to support NNPC by reporting any suspicious activity around pipelines and other oil and gas facilities, stressing that the Corporation, on its own part, would do everything possible to ensure the safety of lives and property around its facilities.
Shedding light on NNPC’s safety practice, the GMD said that in view of the complex and technical nature of its operations, the Corporation accords safety a special priority.
“We are very much determined to ensure that our processes and procedures meet the highest safety standard. Dealing with inflammable liquids and gasses requires utmost care. Our watchword to ensure that is: Safety to one is safety to all; that defines how we handle safety issues,” the GMD said.
He said NNPC held HSE Week annually across its subsidiaries to sensitise personnel, contractors and visitors on the need to adhere strictly to its safety standards, adding that the Corporation’s safety policies and procedures were reviewed regularly to comply with the highest safety standards.
Speaking at the event, the leader of the delegation and Regional President of OSHA, Nigeria Branch, Dr Dalhatu Mohammed Ahmed, stated that the purpose of their visit was to carry the GMD along in their drive to ensure safety of workers and equipment in view of the position occupied by the NNPC in the Nigerian economy as one of the largest employer of labour in the country and major revenue earner.
Dr Ahmed applauded the GMD for his numerous initiatives to ensure safety of staff and assets across the corporation’s value chain.
“I want to commend the efforts of the GMD as far as safety of lives and property is concerned in the corporation. It is interesting to see that the NNPC has done a lot in terms of safety. Safety is everybody’s business as it is a multi-dimensional issue that requires multi-dimensional approach,” Dr Dalhatu averred.
The GMD and the NNPC General Manager, Health, Safety and Environment, Mr Ahmed Shehu were conferred with a fellowship of the association.