26 February 2013, Lagos – The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, may have lost up to N3.6billion in the six weeks of the latest vandalism of its System 2B Pipeline at Arepo, in Ogun State. The Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mr. Andrew Yakubu, gave the indication on Tuesday, when he undertook another scheduled visit to the site of the damaged pipeline, currently undergoing repairs.
Yakubu told journalists after inspecting the repairs that the Corporation is losing about N600 million weekly as a result of the damage to the pipelines, which occurred on January 13, 2013.
He also said that vandals responsible for the damage of the fuel pipeline, which transports refined petroleum products from the Atlas Cove Jetty in Lagos through to the western states up to Kwara state, would not be able to tamper with the pipelines again.
According to the NNPC boss, the Corporation employed the services of ENIKKOM, a reputable indigenous company, which changed the configuration of the pipelines in the area to make them inaccessible to people.
He further said that the pipelines were being laid deeper in the ground; while an observation tower had been put in place to enable security personnel have adequate view of the environment, to keep the vandals at bay, while the military continuously patrolled the area.
Yakubu also disclosed that Sapper Engineering Nigeria Limited (Army Corps of Engineers), had cleared about 13 kilometre right of way out of the 30 kilometre target, while work is expected to end in 90 days.
He noted in spite of the constant line breaks, there was no fuel scarcity experienced within the periods because all the refineries were working. “A lot of efforts have been made by this administration. As at the end of 2012, all our refineries have been operating optimally,” he said.
Brigadier General Emeka Okonkwo, who represented the Chief of Army Staff, and in-charge of the Corps of Engineers, said while working in Arepo, the vandals attacked his men, which would not make them abandon the monitoring of the pipelines, but maintained that the Army is determined to carry out its responsibilities of protecting lives and properties in Nigeria.
The Managing Director, Enikkom Construction, Mr. Edward Amene, whose company is laying the pipelines, said his company had the technology to bury the pipes 40 metres deep into the ground on the right of way. He promised to meet the completion date of May 2013.
At least 10 suspected vandals were, feared dead in the explosion that rocked NNPC pipeline at Arepo village. The explosion was caused by some vandals who stormed the creeks by boat to siphon fuel from the NNPC pipeline. It occurred barely two weeks after a similar incident in the area caused the death of more than 15 suspected vandals.
The latest incident was the fourth time since September last year that fire, suspected to be caused by vandals, had occurred in the area. Last year Arepo three NNPC officials were also killed by the vandals.
*Sebastine Obasi, Vanguard