Kunle Kalejaye 18 June 2015, Sweetcrude, Lagos – The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, has urged the Federal Government to adequately equip security forces to fight crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism.
Speaking during a stakeholders’ forum on crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism organised by PENGASSAN recently in Lagos, the Chairman of the Forum, Comrade Emmanuel Onuorah, stated that the nation is losing between 250,000 and 400,000 barrels per day of crude oil to theft and pipeline vandalisation, which is the combined production of Ghana, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.
He explained, “If the crude oil price is put at an average of $60/barrel, this translates to between US$15million and US$25million lost in revenue. As a major stakeholder in the industry, we lament the huge loss, which could have been deployed into critical areas of national development.
“Huge unbudgeted costs are being incurred to repair or replace pipelines at damaged/theft points. Government needs to develop the political will to stop pipeline vandalism and oil theft including sanctioning collaborators in the military and security services.
“The security forces should be empowered by government to secure our national assets instead of the use of unconventional methods through award of contracts to those without security and intelligence know-how to protect these critical national assets.”
Listing some of the evils of pipeline vandalism and crude oil theft, he said that pipeline vandalism is a key cause of massive divestment by the International Oil Companies, IOCs, since 2010, adding that the criminal activities has also forced refineries to shut down since the feedstock is always truncated.
“Pipeline sabotage has continually strained Nigeria to resort to importation of petroleum products and waste the limited resources meant for capital and human development programmes.
“Regrettably, sabotaged pipeline is the major reason for spillages and environmental devastation setting the host communities against both the Oil Operators and the Government.
He therefore called on the government to ensure that pipeline integrity was sound enough to enable safe transportation of crude and refined products all over the country, saying that pipeline installation can now be done using state of the art technology in a manner that will be inaccessible to vandals.