January 26, 2022

Eliminating The Menace Of Pipeline Vandalism

3 min read

Oil and Gas remained the mainstay of Nigeria’s economy, contributing about 90 percent of the nation’s foreign exchange earnings and about 25 per cent of the Gross Domestic Products.

A significant proportion of the Nigeria’s oil is produced onshore and subsequently transported by pipelines, which are now being destroyed by militants.

Vandalism is the action involving deliberate destruction of or damage to public or private property.

In general, vandalism may be motivated by malicious greed, by the wish to draw attention to a particular condition, by a political ideology, by the desire for revenge on a particular person, by frustration, or by misguided playfulness

The effects of pipeline vandalism include huge economic losses from pipeline and plant shutdown, environmental pollution, fire outbreaks usually resulting in loss of lives.

According to the latest data obtained from the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, a total of 350 pipeline points were vandalised from January to July this year.

The number of vandalised pipeline points rose from 27 in January to 54 in February, according to the NNPC data.

In March, 70 pipeline points were vandalised, representing a 29.63 per cent increase when compared to February.

The company said Port Harcourt area accounted for 63 per cent and Mosimi Area accounted for 21 per cent of the vandalised points in March while Gombe accounted for the remaining 16 per cent.

It said the number of pipeline points vandalised reduced by 34.29 per cent to 46 in April.

The national oil company said Port Harcourt area accounted for 54 per cent and Mosimi area accounted for 46 per cent of the vandalised points.

The number of pipeline points vandalised dropped to 42 in July from 47 in June and 64 in May.

The NNPC said Port Harcourt area accounted for 65 per cent and Mosimi and Kaduna areas accounted for 30 per cent and five per cent respectively of the vandalised points in May.

It said Port Harcourt area accounted for 43 per cent, while Mosimi and Kaduna accounted for 51 per cent and six per cent respectively of the vandalised points in June.

Port Harcourt area accounted for 40 per cent and Mosimi area accounted for 60 per cent of the vandalised points in July.

The NNPC said it had, in collaboration with the local communities and other stakeholders, continuously striven to reduce and eventually eliminate the menace of pipeline vandalism.

“Products theft and vandalism have continued to destroy value and put NNPC at disadvantaged competitive position. A total of 500 vandalised points have been recorded between March 2020 and March 2021,” it said.

A total of 441 points on petroleum products pipelines were vandalised last year, compared to 1,484 points in 2019, the NNPC data showed.

The company spent N53.36bn on pipeline repairs and management cost in 2020.

The Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the NNPC Ltd, Mallam Mele Kyari, said recently that the introduction of Operation White and the Automated Downstream Operations and Financial Monitoring Centre had made it possible for the corporation to monitor products supply and distribution across the country.

He said this had reduced illicit practices such as oil theft and cross border smuggling of petroleum products which used to cause dislocation in the supply and distribution matrix and huge revenue losses to the nation.

It is vital we take the appropriate steps to protect pipelines and prevent future vandalism

While it may be difficult to change the minds of all those inspired to vandalize or steal from oil pipelines, there are security measures available to help reduce the number of vandalizations that occur around the world.

Reduction in vandalism will indeed unlock several industry upsides which include improved upstream oil production due to reduced pipeline disruptions, improved refinery utilization due to increased crude oil feed from restored pipelines, and reduction of crude/product losses.

Unattended ground sensors provide a covert, reliable way to detect unusual movement near pipelines. When strategically placed, these ground sensors allow security personnel to detect, monitor, and analyze suspicious activity, and if needed, react before any damage occurs.

Pathfinder sensors have also recently been tailored to detect damage to above ground pipes and provide a location where the pipe has been drilled, cut or torched and to provide a silent alarm in real time to pipeline security personnel on their smart devices anywhere in the country having cell connectivity.

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