The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has unveiled plans to mitigate the raging twin menace of pipeline vandalism and crude oil theft in the nation's oil and gas industry.
NNPC Group Managing Director, Mallam Mele Kyari, at the inaugural Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) Policy Dialogue, yesterday in Abuja, said oil theft had remained a challenge in the industry despite some strong interventions in the past.
Kyari, however, stated that the gradual reduction in vandalism would be sustained through improved collaboration, implementation of Global Memoranda of Understanding (GMoUs), and deployment of appropriate technologies, among other measures.
A statement issued by NNPC's Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs, Mr. Samson Makoji, said Kyari was represented at the event by the NNPC Chief Operating Officer, Upstream, Mr. Roland Ewubare.
Kyari listed other measures to curb the menace to include a security architecture with single accountability for national critical infrastructure, industry and regulatory commitment to transparent crude oil and products accounting, realistic expectation by host communities and emplacement of sustainable social investment mechanism.
He 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 also harped on the need to prioritise and instill in the youth a sense of patriotism and national orientation.
On the immediate and remote causes of oil theft and pipeline vandalism, Kyari said most stakeholders believed that oil theft was essentially a social problem which underlying causes include poverty in the communities, community-industry expectation mismatch and corruption.
Others, he noted, included 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 lamented that NNPC, as an operator, had suffered severe attacks on its facilities and assets, noting that between 2001 to half year 2019, NNPC had recorded a total of 45,347 pipeline breaks on its downstream pipeline network across the country.
Kyari said for the Nigerian 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 stated.
In his presentation, Edo State 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 who urged the federal government to take over the control of the pipelines from the international oil companies (IOCs), 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 the industry must end the prevailing incentives that make it possible for crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism to flourish.
The governor added that NEC had upgraded the ad hoc committee to a standing committee with mandate to provide regular updates to NEC as may be required.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Executive Secretary of NEITI, Mr. Waziri Adio, had provided gory statistics on the pipeline vandalism and challenged participants at the policy dialogue to come up with practical solutions.