Minister for Petroleum, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke
By Muhammad Bello
The Presidency Sunday said Nigeria was losing about N105 billion to pipeline vandalism annually.
A highly placed source in the Presidency, which disclosed this, revealed that there was an impending peril regarding petroleum products in the country as a result of the activities of pipeline vandals across the country.
The source, which spoke to journalists, said: “The current fuel supply and distribution situation being experienced by Nigerians is traceable to recent vandalism of our products pipeline at Arepo; where Pipeline Products and Marketing Company (PPMC) engineers, who went for repairs were shot and three of them killed. As a result of security challenges, PPMC is yet to gain access to the vandalised points to effect repairs.”
One of these points was identified as the one “along the Atlas Cove-Mosimi line that feeds five depots and accounts for products supply to the whole of the South-west region and also contributes to about 60 per cent of total bridging to the North.”
The source said with the extensive land mass of the country and its huge population, it was difficult to effectively manage the supply and distribution of petroleum products across the country using trucks, noting that once the pipelines were secured, the nation would be guaranteed stable and steady supply and distribution of petroleum products.
The source further observed that about $9 billion assets were lying fallow as a result of the menace of pipeline vandalism but that “the present management of PPMC since it took over about 20 months ago is doing all it can to resuscitate some of these abandoned pipelines. Without the support of security agencies, we cannot achieve much.”
“PPMC is ready to pump all products to the Depots located in all regions of the country. It is only when the pipelines are not available that they are compelled to use other methods to make the products available. In the absence of security, the vandals have a field day and prevent the pipelines from functioning effectively. PPMC has re-commissioned Kaduna-Suleja line, Kaduna-Kano line, Suleja-Minna line, Kaduna-Gusau line, Kaduna-Jos line and Port Harcourt-Aba line and Warri-Benin line.
“With these lines functioning, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) have been able to distribute products to Suleja, Kano, Minna, Jos, Gusau and Aba depots. Some of these depots have not worked for about 15 years. It is noteworthy that in spite of the numerous challenges facing the NNPC in maintaining pipelines, products like AGO and DPK that have not been pumped to these depots have been achieved,” he explained.
“The successes achieved with the re-activation and rehabilitation of the above mentioned lines is rooted in the strong belief that the pipelines are by far the safest, most efficient, quickest, cost effective means to distribute products especially for a country as large as ours,” the source stated.
“With our bad roads, robbers and environmental considerations in having the trucks travel length and breadth of this large country, what effects can that achieve?” the source queried.
The Presidency urged Nigerians to help government in protecting the pipelines, saying the assets belonged to them.
“Nigerians must not forget that energy worldwide is regarded as National Asset. A threat to energy supply is often viewed as a threat to national security. The nation cannot allow persons or group of persons threaten what is collectively ours. It should be considered as security risk and economic sabotage,” the source said.
An industry source also lamented that with the increase in cases of pipeline vandalism in the last two decades ago, “how many culprits have been apprehended and successfully prosecuted; except for the small time jerry can boys while the main players who use valves to siphon products with barges and with trucks are left to enjoy their loot. These are pertinent questions we should ask ourselves as a nation rather than blame the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) or an individual. The problems are rather systemic!”
The source said: “Since the heated issue of subsidy began in early 2012, NNPC/PPMC has solely sustained Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) supply to the Nigerian market as Marketers have refused to bring in products. Despite that singular effort by PPMC, supplies have been robust and hitch free with PMS available across the nation at a uniform price.
“Nigerians should cast their minds back to our immediate past, to the horrible period of 2009-2010 when Nigerians were sleeping in fuel stations looking for fuel to buy. All that has now become a thing of the past; thanks to this administration and the current Management of PPMC,” the source noted.