08 December 2018, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt — The Shell Petroleum Development Company Limited, SPDC, has cautioned against the setting up of structures, living and doing business on oil and gas pipelines’ right of way.
Speaking at a seminar for journalists in Port Harcourt on ‘Pipeline Vandalism, Health of the Environment and the Niger Delta People’, Shell’s Lead, Encroachment Management, Mr. Amaechi Ucheoma, said by law people were supposed to stay 30 metres away from any oil and gas pipeline.
Ucheoma regretted that some people deliberately disobeyed laws guiding the protection of pipelines to put themselves at risk while encroaching on or operating close to pipelines’ right of way.
According to him, “People ignorantly set up business structures close to pipelines’ right of way. We are appealing to the media to help us sustain the campaign against encroachment against Shell facilities.
“Apart from the danger it poses to lives and property, encroachment on oil and gas pipeline’s right of way is another form of economic sabotage, which adversely affects production.
“We have in some places erected perimeter fences, used right of way markers, engaged the sensitisation of communities to the need to stay away from pipelines’ right of way and also surveillance through the use of local security contractors.”
Also speaking, Shell’s Lead, Right of Way and Encroachment, Mr. John Okojie, expressed sadness over the continued attack on the company’s pipelines by vandals, who according to him, were in the habit of cutting into oil pipelines.
Okojie also said that the air pollution such as black smoke and hydrocarbon soot, which is currently plaguing Rivers State was as result of the activities of oil thieves.
“Most of the pipeline leaks are as a result of interference by oil thieves and attack on such property causes pollution, which endangers the health and lives of many, including the oil thieves.
“Every time a hack occurs, we shut down, plan for repairs, get the spill cleaned up, fix the pipe and then bring the area back to normalcy.
“We have had vandalism like hacksaw cuts, drilled holes and bomb blasts on our pipelines. The audacity of the oil thieves is something else,” he said.