08 December 2015, Abuja – The announcement by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, that the federal government will privatise the nation’s petroleum products pipeline network has continued to elicit mixed reactions from stakeholders in the oil and gas industry.
The Executive Vice-Chairman, Techno Oil Limited, Mrs. Nkechi Obi, told Vanguard that it is welcome development as pipelines privatisation will curtail the incessant vandalism being experienced in the industry.
“I welcome the idea;. I support it. It is a good initiative because it is a challenge that has hindered distribution of petroleum products. So many things are involved though. The integrity of the pipelines is a big challenge. The private sector can invest in the pipeline networks. It is something that should be done now; it is a way to go.
“The initiative will minimise pipeline vandalism in the country. Come to think of it. Many depots are privately owned. How many of them are vandalised? The private knows how best to relate with their host communities – they provide roads, hospitals, water and other amenities for their communities.
“If the pipelines are privatised, vandalism will be minimal. The new owners will look into the problems associated with vandalism and tackle them drastically,” she said.
Also commenting, the Chairman/CEO, Brittania-U Nigeria Limited, an indigenous exploration and production company, Mrs Uju Ifejika, said the policy should be fully supported to encourage government to face governance and leave out business for the private sector.
She said: “Government should face governance and leave business for the private sector. Overtime, it has shown that government cannot manage the pipelines. They should be given out to people who will pay through put. The private sector will run the pipelines profitably. Mind you the Minister is coming from a background that knows that there is a demarcation between business and governance. Most of the pipelines are very old. The new owners should be able to do integrity check on them, maintain them effectively and run them efficiently to make profit.
“As regards vandalism, the new owners will put in place everything that will help to protect the pipelines. They will use sensors which government has not been able to use. They will find a way to reach the host communities and partner with them for effective monitoring. They can engage the communities by training them and giving them jobs. By so doing, the communities will know who to hold responsible.
Everybody should support the policies of the Minister of State for Petroleum, because he has shown that he means for the survival of the oil industry.”
However, President, Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, Achese Igwe, believes that the policy is anti-people.