In a bid to ensure adequate protection and security of the nation’s strategic oil and gas assets, over 12,000 youths in the Niger Delta have been recruited to provide security for key oil pipelines within and around their immediate communities.
The minister of Petroleum resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, who stated this yesterday, reiterated federal government’s resolve to protect the over 5,000 kilometres of vital crude and petroleum products pipelines across the country as well as other key oil facilities.
According to a statement issued by Dr. Levi Ajuonuma, group general manager, group public affairs of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the scheme which was an initiative of the ministry, was an integral part of the on-going amnesty and re-habilitation programme for Niger Delta youths.
The NNPC spokesman stated that the initiative has succeeded in reducing the incessant pipeline vandalism, which in turn has increased crude oil production from a meager one million barrels per day about a year ago, to the current level of combined crude and condensate of 2.6million barrels per day.
``Our pipelines are now becoming more secure, which means that capacity utilisation of the refineries is also now on the increase as more refined products can be moved via pipelines,’’ Ajuonuma stated.
The statement further informed that the minister has approved the take-off of phase four of the ongoing Chad-Basin exploration activities which was projected to generate over 3,000 jobs for youths in the North Eastern part of the country.
“As we progress to other inland Sedimentary basins, it is anticipated that our host communities will benefit both directly and indirectly from the exploration activities in their neighborhood,’’ Ajuonuma stated.