The Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC), Malam Mele Kyari, has explained how an illegal oil pipeline connecting directly to the high sea was discovered.
During his meeting with the Senate, Kyari said the major oil export terminal that had its products diverted into the sea had been operating undetected for nine years.The four-kilometre or 2.5-mile illegal export line connecting Forcados export terminal, into the sea was found during a clampdown on theft in the past six weeks.
Oil theft in the country has been going on for over 22 years but the dimension and rate it assumed in recent times is unprecedented, but in rising up to the highly disturbing challenge, NNPC, has in recent time in collaboration with relevant security agencies clamped down on the economic saboteurs.
The NNPC GCEO added that “In the course of the clampdown within the last six weeks, 395 illegal refineries have been deactivated, 274 reservoirs destroyed, 1,561 metal tanks destroyed, 49 trucks seized.
“The most striking of all, is the four-kilometre illegal oil connection line from Forcados Terminal into the sea which had been in operation undetected for nine solid years,”
Kyari said Nigeria has been losing potential revenue from some 600,000 bpd of oil as a result of shut-ins due to third party interference with the NNPC facilities through vandalism.Crude oil exports fell to 972,000 bpd in August for the first time since at least 1990 as a result, starving Nigeria of crucial cash. Activities at the affected terminal have been stopped since a leak was found from a sub-sea hose at the terminal on July 17. He further told the lawmakers that Nigeria was in a ‘calamitous’ situation over oil theft, and pipeline vandalism with its devastating consequence of decrease in production.
According to Shell (the operator of the Forcados Terminal), it expects loadings to resume in the second half of October while Kyari puts it in a number of days.
The Federal Government through the national Oil company, has adopted various measures to bring an end to this lingering menace which obviously defied several attempted solutions in the past. Part of these are renewed deployment of joint security personnel to the Niger Delta area, real time pipeline surveillance as well as awarding a N4 billion naira monthly surveillance contract to the indigenous ex militant Tompolo.
Nigeria recently took a raft of measures to curtail the oil theft menace, which so far appears to have defied all solutions.
A few of the measures include the renewed deployment of security personnel in the Niger Delta and the real-time monitoring of activities around the pipelines by the NNPC.