Vandalism: Nigeria losing credibility as gas exporter
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), has warned that the frequent attacks on its gas pipelines is affecting the country’s credibility as a gas supplier to West African countries.
The Corporation Executive Director, Gas and Power, Dr. David Ige said on a national television programme on Monday that besides the amount of millions of Naira spent in repairing the pipelines, growth in the nation’s power sector is being severely hampered with the incessant attacks. Ige disclosed that Nigeria is also losing about $10 billion annually to crude theft with about 50, 000 barrels lost daily.
According to him the acts of vandalism “is also impacting on our credibility as exporter of gas because we export gas to West Africa and there are significant cost implication for not meeting your contractual obligations unless in a force majeure situation. For Ghana and Togo, we have consistently struggled to be able to meet up with our obligations because every time we try to ramp up production, the pressure on the pipelines drop due to vandalism and we cannot meet our obligations. “And that has also a knock-on effect as well on the cost to the Ghanaians, the Togolese, the Beniniose and to us the suppliers of the gas. We are also losing over $10billion a year in crude theft too because if we are losing about 50,000barrels a day that is a significant amount. The cost of vandalism to the nation is significant”.
The noted that action of the vandals border on criminality “because we have people also in the communities who suffer from poverty but they are not venturing into criminality as part of solution to poverty. I think we have a few of criminal minded people who have gotten so use to this quick money and continue to do it.
“They are getting more dangerous by the day because they heavily armed people who going through a very well and sophisticated process. It is not just anybody. The kind of people who go in there to do this must be very organized to hack into a live pipeline.
“We are losing close 20,000-50, 000 barrels per day that is a significant amount of revenue to a highly organized syndicate. But on the other side that is equally worrisome is the bid around the vandalisation of gas pipelines because that is not theft.
“That certainly must be sabotage. And it is particularly worrisome because we are seeing an increasing threat whenever we are about to achieve a mile stone, we see an increased activity.
“I believe that there is the fundamental act of criminality in the theft in bunkering aspect but there is some kind of brewing sabotage that needs to be checked very quickly on the gas side.
“We have brought in new production but in this new year non of our facilities with this new production has been able to operate for two days in a roll without being brought down”.
He noted that the corporation has to rely on communities most times for early warning system, as some of the terrains are not “that easy to respond to”.
He, however, explained that NNPC is evaluating some new technologies to deploy that would allow it to be aware of intrusion in their infrastructures but “the problem we have is that even these new infrastructure has to be powered somehow and the first thing they do is go after the infrastructures”.
He noted that NNPC was yet to arrive at a solution that is foolproof yet, stressing, howeve, that the corporation needs a combination of solutions which “includes technologies, review of enforcement, review judicial process and a complete social re-engineering of the people on ground”.
He explained that in the past six months “we have recorded about 50 attacks” across all the pipelines”.
He urged Nigerians to join in the fight against the problem of pipeline vandalism because it affects everybody both in the short and in the long run.