PENGASSAN canvasses special force to check oil theft

president of PENGASSAN, Francis Johnson

president of PENGASSAN, Francis Johnson

IN a bid to check oil theft, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, has advised the Federal Government to set up a special force for the protection of crude oil pipelines and other oil installations.

PENGASSAN has also implored the National Assembly to consider the expeditious passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) into law to address some of the pressing problems facing the sector.

PENGASSAN President, Mr. Francis Johnson, who stated this during the 4th triennial delegates’ conference of PENGASSAN, Shell Branch, in Port Harcourt, Rivers state, with theme: “Building a Industrial Relations Community in a Challenging Global Economic Downturn,” expressed concern over the huge quantity of crude oil Nigeria loses to vandalism of crude oil pipelines.

Johnson asked the Federal Government to live up to its responsibility of providing adequate security for the nation’s oil assets, urging it to equip the security agencies with the latest technological gadgets that will empower them detect and prevent pipeline vandalism.

According to the Labour leader, physical regular surveillance has not done much to prevent incessant cases of pipelines vandalism. “Nigeria has lost huge revenue, which could have accrued to the nation’s purse as a result of crude losses due to pipeline vandalism and crude oil theft.

The loss is estimated to be the combined daily production of Ghana, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea. The menace is the chief cause of incessant shut-in production, ‘force majeure’ and unbearable cost of maintenance and repairs, which have extremely hiked the cost of production,” he said.

Johnson maintained that government, as a critical stakeholder in the oil sector should ensure sound pipeline integrity to enable safe transportation of crude and products all over the country.

In addition, he tasked the Federal Government to establish a special force committed to strict enforcement of pipeline right of way. The PENGASSAN chief decried what he described as the irregular joint venture funding and the non-payment of the joint venture cash calls by government, observing that this has made operators scale down on the spectrum of exploration and production operations.

Government has been defaulting in the payment of counterpart funding for company operations and the joint ventures are owed billions of dollars in cash call arrears forcing these companies to cut costs by embarking on downsizing and redundancy of our members, and compounding the unemployment situation in the country.

As workers in the industry and Nigerians, we call on the government to evolve means of urgent process of clearing cash call arrears by paying the debts owed the IOCs, as it was done on subsidy for petroleum marketers.

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