PENGASSAN tasks govt on crude theft, pipeline vandalisation
AS insecurity in the oil sector worsens, with the attendant economic sabotage through increasing oil theft and vandalisation of pipelines across the country, the Producers Forum (PF) of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has called on the Federal Government to equip security forces to fight the menace.
Addressing the media in Lagos at the weekend, Chairman of PF, Comrade Emmanuel Onuorah, disclosed that the nation was losing between 250000bpd and 400000bpd of crude oil – a combined production of Ghana, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea – to theft and pipeline vandalisation.
“If the crude oil price is put at an average of $60 per barrel, this translates to about $25 million per day (over N1.5 trillion per annum), which is a third of Nigeria’s 2015 budget,” he explained. “We lament the huge loss that could have been deployed into critical areas such as agriculture, transportation and power sectors for national development.
“Huge unbudgeted costs are being incurred to repair or replace pipelines at damaged and theft points. Government needs to develop the political will to stop pipeline vandalism and oil theft, including sanctioning collaborators in the military and security services.
“The security forces should be empowered to secure our national assets instead of the use of unconventional methods through award of contracts to those without security and intelligence know-how to protect these critical national assets.”
Onuoha listed some of the evils of pipeline vandalism and crude oil theft to include massive divestment by the International Oil Companies (IOCs) since 2010, while criminal activities have also forced refineries to shut down since the feedstock is always truncated.
“Pipeline sabotage has continually strained Nigeria to resort to importation of petroleum products and waste the limited resources meant for capital and human development programmes.”
He regretted that sabotaged pipelines have been the major causes of spillages and environmental devastation, which set the host-communities against both the oil explorers and the government. Therefore, he called on the government to ensure sound pipeline integrity, sufficient to guarantee safe transportation of crude and refined products across the country.
According to him, pipeline installation can now be done with state-of-the-art technology in manner that will be inaccessible to vandals. He further hoped that pipeline managers would imbibe the culture of regular maintenance while government lived up to its responsibility of providing adequate security through hi-tech surveillance equipment to protect pipelines and other oil and gas installations.
More so, Onuorah urged that the relevant legal instruments be strengthened to sanction violators and defaulters, and effective counter-strategy against oil theft and sabotage implemented.