With the resurgence of vandalism especially around key products holding and distribution infrastructure in the south west, from where petroleum products are distributed across other parts of the country, through pipelines, security agencies have beefed up 24 hour surveillance across critical oil and gas facilities to stop further acts of vandalisation which is likely to disrupt stable supply of petroleum products especially as Christmas approaches.
Unconfirmed report said some persons wearing Navy and Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps, NSCDC uniforms were caught attempting to steal petrol from Atlas Cove, a critical receptive facility in Lagos.
Also, a decisive move to arrest the situation, the anti-vandal unit of the Lagos state command of the NSCDC has so far arrested 59 suspected vandals in the last 9 months Of 2018.
According to the state commander, Tajudeen Balogun, out of the number 14 convictions have so far been secured this year and the sentences ranged from 6 months to 10 years respectively.
Giving further details while speaking with our Correspondent, Balogun disclosed that 391,150 liters (three hundred and ninety thousand, One hundred and fifty liters), were confiscated and handed over to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC Mosimi.
The Commander said the Command has placed its personnel on high alert as festive periods fraught with criminal activities especially with vandals stealing petroleum products to make quick money.
He observed that with ease of access to energy infrastructure to the people oil pipeline vandalism and the practice of illegal bunkering has become the major issue that has a role to play in speeding up criminality, population displacement which in turn has a negative effect on social integration of communities in areas where pipelines are laid.
According to statistics from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the nation recorded 194 cases of pipeline vandalism between January 2017 and the corresponding period of this year.
During the release of its January financial and operational report, the NNPC admitted that the vandalism posed a major challenge to its operations.
According to NNPC, the development has continued to threaten government’s efforts in sanitizing the downstream sector of the oil and gas industry, especially the move to make country a net exporter of refined petroleum products.
The report indicated that vandalism remains the biggest problem of operations at the downstream sector, putting the corporation at a disadvantageous position while it lasted. Of the 194 cases, the NNPC noted that PHC-Aba and Aba-Enugu pipeline segment of the network accounted for 187 points or 86.57 per cent.
Similarly, vandalism has also impacted on the nation’s electricity sector as gas supplies to thermal stations have dropped significantly.
For instance, Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, disclosed that incessant pipeline destructions, has increased by two times this year alone, than the number experienced in the last two to three years.
He said for instance the attack on the Nigeria gas company’s pipeline connected to Chevron Nigeria Limited’s facility at Escravos, “is costing the country a whopping N470 million daily.”
He said: “This attack has impacted negatively on the Olorunsogo Nigerian National Integrated Power Project (NIPP) plant with 600 megawatts capacity, as well as other power plants.
“The sabotaged gas pipeline which contributes to the Escravos Lagos Pipeline System (ELPS) has led to a loss of 160 Million standard cubic feet of gas per day (mmsfcd) of gas daily, at a cost of $2.50 per thousand standard cubic feet. This loss means about $400,000 loss to the country on a daily basis (N78, 800, 000 daily) in gas volume. This is in addition to losses to be incurred daily from affected Power generation ($1,988,223 or N391, 680, 000 daily). The total daily loss to the country is therefore estimated at N470, 479,931, and repairs of the damaged pipeline are estimated as costing ($609,137 or N120,000,000).”
Balogun said however said the Command is partnering with other sister security agencies especially the Navy which has capacity to operate seamlessly along the creeks and swamps to ensure the entire infrastructure network especially in Lagos are properly monitored.
He said oil pipeline vandalism has been perpetrated principally by criminal syndicates who are motivated by the desire to loot oil products for material aggrandizement and this organized crime is often aided and abated by experts which gives it a semblance of a franchise.