…Says 350 deaths recorded due to vandalism in 3 years
Oscarline Onwuemenyi 03 September 2015, Sweetcrude, Abuja – Oil theft would be completely eradicated in the next eight months in the country, according to the Group Managing Director, GMD, of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Dr. Emmanuel Kachikwu.
The new GMD said the corporation, under his leadership would be introducing a whole lot of measures to check oil theft and to bring perpetrators to book.
Some of these measures include the introduction of drones to monitor the pipelines as well as patrol the country’s coastal waters; equipping and increasing the capabilities of the security services to carry out their responsibilities as well as engagement of communities to police pipelines in their areas.
Kachikwu, who was speaking at a one-day special Conference on Security in the Gulf of Guinea in Abuja, said: “We are launching an armada of approaches which will include incorporation of drones to check movements of vessels within our territorial waters.
“We are looking at the current logistical nightmares of changing staffing at the loading bay of crude oil export terminals virtually every 90 days.
“We are trying to equip the navy sufficiently though they are very well equipped in terms of skill set but not in terms of arsenal for patrols within the maritime area”.
On the issue of pipeline protection, the GMD explained that though the corporation is working assiduously with the law enforcement agencies to increase the presence of military personnel in the area, the ultimate security for the critical oil and gas assets lies squarely with the host communities.
“The best security for these pipelines lies with the communities. We are trying to create enough incentives for them to see these pipelines as their own,” he explained.
Lamenting the impact of oil theft on the smooth operations of the nation’s refineries, the NNPC GMD warned that if left unchecked, the menace could invariably make it impossible for the NNPC to operate the refineries.
According to him, “Most of our product pipelines are ruptured and attacked frequently. For instance between June 2014 and June 2015, we recorded about 3, 500 to 4,000 attempts at the various products pipelines across the country. In addition to that, the pipelines that are supposed to convey crude to the refineries are perpetually hacked.”
Kachikwu noted that the resort to the use of marine vessels to convey crude to the refineries is coming at heavy cost.
“What this means is that no matter what we do with the refineries today, unless that is solved, we really are going nowhere, we cannot operate the refineries,” he stated.
He explained that beyond the loss of crude and products, the incidents of oil theft have also claimed a huge number of human lives. He informed that in the last three years a total of 350 persons including NNPC staff, Police officers, Community members have been killed as a result of activities of oil thieves.