Days after the pipeline explosion, which resulted in the loss of lives and properties in Ekoro area, Abule-Egba, Lagos, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has disclosed that 45,347 of such incident had occurred in the last 18 years.
Speaking on the incidents recently, the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mele Kyari, said pipeline vandalism and crude oil theft had been a major challenge for the oil industry for years. he attributed the development to poverty in surrounding communities, community-industry expectation mismatch, and corruption.
It was also disclosed that poor prosecution of offenders, ineffective law enforcement, high unemployment in the communities, and poor governance were also major causes of pipeline vandalism. Kyari also cited inadequate funding of resources to tackle oil theft.
Why this matters: Nairametrics had reported that the pipeline explosion on Sunday, at Abule-Egba located in Lagos, claimed three lives (including a minor), several houses and vehicles. The recent incident is one among many as earlier stated because host communities sometimes damage these pipelines to attack the oil companies, which they believe are making profits at the expense of their community.
Also, individuals in these affected communities scoop fuel once the pipeline has been damaged. These are what often lead to the explosion. With NNPC recording a total of 45,347 pipeline breaks on its downstream pipeline network across the country between 2001 to half-year 2019, Kyari said the attacks had made it difficult for Nigeria to meet its revenue projections.
“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 times.”
How is NNPC curbing it? According to Kyari, measures like collaboration, implementation of Global Memoranda of Understanding (GMoUs), and deployment of technologies are reducing the incidents around pipelines.
Kyari added that security architecture with single accountability for national critical infrastructure; industry and regulatory commitment to transparent crude oil and product accounting are some of the measures taken by the government to curb the menace. Other measures that can be taken are realistic expectations by host communities and emplacement of sustainable social investment mechanism among others.
What needs to be done: Kyari, who made this known at the inaugural Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) Policy Dialogue, said there’s also need for integrity and transparency in the government as regards pipeline security, as well as policy review and enforcement of legal actions on economic saboteurs.