The Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, said on Tuesday that the corporation was working towards the deployment of drones across the nation’s territorial waters to monitor the movement of oil bearing vessels.
He expressed worry over the nation’s colossal loss to oil theft and pipeline vandalism. For instance, he said Nigeria recorded between 3,400 and 4,000 attacks on its various pipelines, losing over $7bn (about N1.4th) from June 2014 to June 2015.
Kachikwu, who spoke at a one-day seminar in Abuja on Tuesday on “Security in the Gulf of Guinea”, organised by the Gusau Institute, however, said the NNPC would end oil theft and vandalism in eight months.
He said, “Oil theft is a major issue for us. We lose on average about 50,000 barrels of oil. We lose about $3-$4bn of revenue and that is just in terms of crude oil itself. When you get to pipeline, most of our pipelines are ruptured and attacked fairly frequently. Last year alone, between June 2014 and June 2015, we recorded between 3,400 and 4,000 attacks on the various pipelines in the country. The effect is a shut in of about 250,000 barrels a day and when you calculate that you have a net loss of over $7bn.”
According to him, the fight to stop oil theft was in the overall interest of the nation.
He said that the corporation was working on a range of far reaching options to end the ugly episodes of crude and petroleum products theft within the next eight months.
Kachikwu, was quoted in another statement issued by the firm on Tuesday, as saying, “We are launching an armada of approaches, which will include the incorporation of drones to check the movement of vessels within Nigeria’s territorial waters.
“We are looking at the current logistical nightmares of changing staffing at the loading bay of crude oil export terminals virtually every 90 days, we are trying to equip the navy sufficiently though they are very well equipped in terms of skill set but not in terms of arsenal for patrols within the maritime area,” he said.
On the issue of pipeline protection, the GMD said although the corporation was working with law enforcement agencies to increase the presence of military personnel in the area, the ultimate security for the critical oil and gas assets was squarely with the host communities.
He said, “The best security for these pipelines lies with the communities. We are trying to create enough incentives for them to see these pipelines as their own.”
Lamenting the impact of oil theft on the smooth operations of the nation’s refineries, the NNPC GMD warned that if left unchecked, the menace could invariably make it impossible for the NNPC to operate the refineries.
He explained that beyond the loss of crude and products, the incidence of oil theft had also claimed a huge number of human lives.
He said in the last three years, a total of 350 persons including some NNPC workers, police officers, and community members had been killed as a result of the activities of oil thieves.
The GMD observed that in executing the campaign, adequate support would be sought from the international community especially from countries that had become host nations to the stolen cargoes.
The Prime Minister of Sao Tome and Principe, Patrice Emery Trovoada, called on the countries in the Gulf of Guinea to forge a broad-based collaboration to stem the ugly tide of insecurity on all the waterways.