150 illegal tappings force operators to shut down operations
The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has raised the alarm over the increasing rate of vandalism, lamenting that the menace is taking a huge toll on the nation’s assets.
The oil workers revealed that from October 2021 to February 2022, between 90 – 99 per cent of crude oil pumped into the Trans National Pipeline (TNP) by operators was vandalised.
Addressing a press conference on the state of the nation yesterday, President of PENGASSAN, Festus Osifo, in presence of its national officers, said crude oil theft made Nigeria lose out on accruing more revenue from the current high price of crude oil in the international market.
He said recent preliminary work showed that about 150 illegal tappings were used in siphoning crude oil from the TNP.
This, according to him, has forced all operators injecting crude into the TNP to suspend export/injection, thereby shutting-in production.
He gave instances of TotalEnergies and SPDC that have stopped production into the TNP pipeline while Agip ENI declared force majeure on their Brass terminal.
With the country currently producing an average of 1.2 to 1.3 million barrels of crude oil daily from a capacity of about two million barrels of crude oil per day, PENGASSAN, asked the Federal Government, as a matter of urgency to work with stakeholders in the oil and gas industry as well as the national security architecture to find a lasting solution to the menace that was almost bringing the oil and gas industry to its knees.
While the workers expect that the pipelines’ integrity would be sound enough to enable safe transportation of crude and products all over the country, the union urged the government to establish a special force committed to strict enforcement of Pipeline Right of Way.
The union urged that security agencies should be empowered to ensure regular surveillance of the pipelines to detect and prevent vandals’ action, while there should be periodic movement of the personnel to discourage them from compromising the security of the assets.
It called on the government to review the enabling legal instruments for sanctioning violators/defaulters.
It is our expectation that pipeline installation can now be done using state-of-the-art technology in a manner that will be inaccessible to vandals. We expect that the managers of the pipelines imbibe the culture of regular maintenance while the government will live up to its responsibility of providing adequate security.
Among other issues of national importance, the union said it was sad that years after the unbundling of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), Nigerians are yet to feel the impact of the legions of companies created out of it, rather, the citizens are subjected to serial grid collapse and total blackout.
It called on the Federal Government to immediately review the privatisation of power generating companies and distribution companies as the operating companies have become more of a burden to the nation.
According to it, as a matter of urgency, the entire power sector must be unbundled and power generation, transmission, and distribution should be moved from the exclusive list to the concurrent list.
It expressed sadness that the Nigerian economy remains confronted by many serious challenges, ranging from structural imbalance to improper coordination between macro and microeconomic policies and no convergence of fiscal and monetary policies.
On the way forward, the oil workers urged that decisive action should be taken by the government in addressing the myriad of issues plaguing the economy and the suffering of Nigerians.
The union maintained that the government could not continuously play politics with important issues affecting Nigerians as the terrible state of the economy is driving the citizens to social vices and creating more national menace.