As part of the renewed efforts to combat pipeline vandalism in the country, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has commenced the process of deployment of Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD), a new technology that buries pipelines very deep inside the ground.
This is coming as vandals on Sunday opened fire at some Nigerian Army engineers clearing the pipeline Right of Way (ROW) at Arepo in Ogun State, but no casualty was recorded on the side of the soldiers.
Speaking Tuesday at Arepo while inspecting the new technology used to bury pipelines under the System 2B network, the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mr. Andrew Yakubu, stated that burying the pipelines very deep with the HDD technology would keep vandals away from sensitive NNPC pipelines across the country.
He noted that with the technology, the configuration of the pipelines had changed, adding that new pipes are also being used to replace the old ones.
"We have changed the configuration of the pipelines and once you change the configuration, it has to be new pipes because the length of the old ones cannot go through the configuration. This HDD is a new technology that keeps the pipelines far away from the surface. That is what the contractors are doing and that is what we mean by bringing a new technology to bear. Certainly, they are going to bury the pipelines very deep, beyond anybody's access," he said.
He said the new technology would be used to bury the pipelines from the Atlas Cove depot in Lagos, through Mosimi depot in Ogun State, up to Ibadan depot in Oyo State.
The NNPC boss, who declined to disclose the cost of deploying the HDD technology, which would be completed by May 30, however noted that special focus was given to System 2B network, because of the notorious nature of vandalism in the area.
According to him, before the NNPC started the project, the corporation was losing N600 million worth of petroleum products on that axis weekly.
Yakubu stated that the Port Harcourt-Aba axis had been secured, while the Benin-Warri axis had been inaugurated.
Also speaking on behalf of the Engineering Corps of the Nigerian Army, Brigadier-General Emeka Okonkwo, who also represented the Chief of Army Staff, disclosed that the army engineers had on February 13 embarked on the clearing of the pipelines Right of Way (ROW) to ensure effective surveillance and easy access to the contractors handling the HDD technology.
He, however, stated that the army engineers were being attacked by hoodlums involved in the vandalism.
"Even as we are working, we are being attacked. Two days ago, some hoodlums fired at our soldiers. We have protection parties from army formations around here and we have our soldiers working with the plants. But even then, we had attacks, but thank God, there was no casualty on our side," he said.
Okonkwo noted that the ongoing project was not the first to be handled by the Nigerian Army Engineers for the NNPC, and gave an assurance that the army would continue to be part of the fight to stem the tide of vandalism in the country.
"In the past, we had cleared the Warri-Escravos Right of Way, which was about 64kilometres, Port Harcourt- Aba Right of Way, which was about 54kilometres, Warri-Benin Right of Way, which was 90kilometres.