By Adedapo Adesanya
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has laid out steps to tackle the menace of pipeline vandalism and crude oil theft in the nation’s oil and gas industry.
Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mr Mele Kyari, said at the inaugural Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) Policy Dialogue on Tuesday that oil theft remains one of the biggest challenges still facing the sector despite previous interventions to curb it.
He lamented that NNPC had suffered severe attacks on its facilities and assets, noting that between 2001 to half year 2019, the agency recorded a total of 45,347 pipeline breaks on its downstream pipeline network across the country.
Mr Kyari stated that the gradual reduction in incidences would be sustained through improved collaboration as well as the implementation of Global Memoranda of Understanding (GMoUs), and deployment of appropriate technologies, among other measures.
The NNPC chief, who was represented at the event by the agency’s Chief Operating Officer, Upstream, Mr Roland Ewubare, listed other measures to curb the menace, which include: a security architecture with single accountability for national critical infrastructure; Industry and regulatory commitment to transparent crude oil and products accounting; realistic expectation by host communities; and emplacement of sustainable social investment mechanism.
He also emphasized the need to inculcate shared values of integrity and transparency across every level of the governance structure for pipeline security, policy refill and enforcement of legal actions on economic saboteurs.
The NNPC GMD also called for the need to prioritize and instill in the nation’s teeming youth a sense of patriotism and national orientation.
He identified certain causes of oil theft and pipeline vandalism most of which arose as a result of social problems like poverty in the communities, community-industry expectation mismatch and corruption.
Others, he noted included: ineffective law enforcement, poor governance, poor prosecution of offenders, high unemployment in the communities, thriving illegal oil market involving both Nigerians and foreigners, and inadequate funding of resources to combat oil theft.
Mr Kyari also said that for the Nigerian economy to prosper, NNPC and other oil companies must be able to operate efficiently and profitably.
“Unfortunately, the combination of crude oil theft, illegal refining and pipeline vandalism, has become a major threat to Nigeria in meeting its revenue projections in recent time,” he was quoted as saying in a statement released by the NNPC Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs, Mr Samson Makoji.
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