By Edith Ike-Eboh
Abuja – The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), says it is taking measures to address the menace of pipeline vandalism and crude oil theft in the nation’s Oil and Gas industry.
The Group Managing. Director, Malam Mele Kyari disclosed this at the inaugural Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) Policy Dialogue in Abuja on Tuesday.
He said that oil theft had remained a challenge in the industry in spite of some strong interventions in the past.
The NNPC bose noted that the gradual reduction in pipelines vandalism would be sustained through improved collaboration, implementation of Global Memoranda of Understanding (GMoUs), and deployment of appropriate technologies.
Kyari, represented by the NNPC Chief Operating Officer, Upstream, Mr Roland Ewubare listed other measures to curb the menace to include a security architecture with single accountability for national critical infrastructure.
He listed others as industry and regulatory commitment to transparent crude oil and products accounting, realistic expectation by host communities, and emplacement of sustainable social investment mechanism.
Kyari emphasised 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.
He harped on the need to priortise and instil in the nation’s teeming youth a sense of patriotism and national orientation.
On the immediate and remote causes of oil theft and pipeline vandalism, the GMD said that most stakeholders were of the view that oil theft was majorly a social problem.
He noted that underlying causes of crude oil theft include poverty in the communities, community-Industry expectation mismatch and corruption.
Others, he noted include 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.
He expressed concern that NNPC as an operator, had suffered severe attacks on its facilities.
According to him, between 2001 to mid 2019, NNPC has recorded a total of 45,347 pipeline breaks on its Downstream pipeline network across the country.
Kyari said that for the nation’s 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 said.
Also, in his presentation, Edo Governor and Chairman of the National Economic Council (NEC) Ad Hoc Committee on Crude Oil Theft, Prevention and Control, Mr Godwin Obaseki stressed the need to institute a proper governance structure for pipeline security in the Industry.
Obaseki called on the Nigeria Intelligence Agency (NIA) to work with the NNPC in identifying possible international markets and destinations of stolen Nigerian crude oil.
He said that the industry must end the prevailing incentives that make it possible for crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism to flourish.
The governor disclosed that NEC had upgraded the Ad Hoc Committee on Crude Theft to a standing committee with mandate to provide regular updates to NEC as may be required.
Speaking earlier, the Executive Secretary of NEITI, Mr. Waziri Adio gave gory statistics on the situation, challenging participants at the policy dialogue to come up with practical solutions.
The theme of this year’s dialogue is: “Stemming the Increasing Cost of Oil Theft to Nigeria.”