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The Pipeline Surveillance Contract: NNPCL Deserves Accolades

By Adewole Kehinde

“Arewa Youths storm NNPCL Headquarters, demand cancellation of Tompolo’s pipeline contract (Guardian Newspaper); CSOs Protest Against Pipeline Surveillance Contract Renewal With Tantita (Leadership Newspaper); Northern youth group stages protest, demands cancellation of Tompolo’s pipeline surveillance contract, were the major headlines in the dailies for the past few months, with the latest coming from the Independent Newspaper, “Pipeline Surveillance Contract: Ex-Militants Demand Own Percentage Of Contract.”

Oil theft has wrecked the country’s oil production capacity and resulted in the loss of about $2 billion in 2022 alone.

Major export facilities, the Bonny and Forcados Terminals, were shut down for over seven months due to pipeline vandalism and oil theft.

At the end of the Buhari administration, the theft of the nation’s oil resources on an unimaginable scale had taken on a suffocating magnitude. The impact of the daily theft of 400,000 barrels of crude oil on Nigeria’s economy made this fact alarmingly apparent. In August of last year, the then-Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, acknowledged that oil thieves and rogues stole approximately 400,000 barrels of crude oil per day.

According to NNPCL data, Nigeria lost 13.21 million barrels of crude oil with an estimated worth of N603.64bn between January and August 2022.

Remember that in September 2022, Bala Wunti, Chief Upstream Investment Officer, NNPC Upstream Investment Management Services (NUIMS), reminded the Nigerian people that the country loses 700 million dollars per month due to oil theft and terminal destruction?

Concerns about a nasty transnational criminal network of the super-rich and savvy economic bandits pillaging the nation’s riches reached the international media. Nigeria was quickly becoming a laughingstock and an object of pity as a nation that watched as an existential economic war was conducted against her inhabitants.

This was the condition that prompted the NNPCL, led by Group Chief Executive Officer Mele Kyari, and the Buhari administration to take active actions to combat the national problem.

There are both formal and informal approaches to solving the issue. The contract awarded to Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited was duly contracted and processed by NNPC Limited as it is yielding the desired outcomes.

I really commend the NNPCL for the action, as available information has shown that the Forcado terminals have restored 500,000 barrels a day to our national production.

A few months ago, the first 87,000 barrels a day were received at the Bonny terminals. So, things are getting better.

This means that the abridged intervention done recently by the government has yielded positive results because the production would have been shortened, and Nigerians could imagine the effect on investment because investors will hold back if they cannot derive maximum profits from their acquisitions.

I recall that at the 49th session of the state house briefing at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Mele Kyari, the Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, said that the federal government is not dealing directly with Tompolo but with a private contractor’s company he has interests in.

“The security agencies are doing their part; end-to-end pipeline surveillance would require the involvement of private entities and community stakeholders.”

“We need private contractors to man the right of way for these pipelines. So, we put up a framework for contractors to come and bid, and they were selected through a tender process. And we believe we made the right decision,” Kyari had said, and I strongly agreed with him due to the successes Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited recorded so far.

Curtailing crude oil theft should be a collective responsibility, so well-meaning members of the public must be encouraged to report illegal activities and transactions in stolen crude oil that may come to their knowledge from any part of the world.

I will also call on the Federal Government to seek international financial collaboration to check illegal letters of credit used to fund the sale and purchase of Nigeria’s stolen crude, as such illegal crude sales can only be transacted through the world financial system.

 

Adewole Kehinde is the publisher of Swift Reporters and can be reached via 08166240846, email: kennyadewole@gmail.com

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