- Urges host communities to protect oil, gas installations
- Kachikwu: Drop in oil price, no threat to OPEC rebalancing
Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt and Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has said with 45 new pipeline breaks, the country recorded 94 break points on its downstream petroleum pipeline network in March.
NNPC, which stated this in its March 2017 edition of the monthly financial and operations report, noted that the new pipeline breaks represented an increase over the 49 accumulated breaks as at February.
The report is coming at a time the Managing Director, Port Harcourt Refining Company Limited (PHRC), Mr. Shehu Malami, appealed to host communities where oil and gas installations are located to protect them from destruction.
Besides, NNPC also stated that efforts by the government to boost power generation in the country through gas might soon yield the required dividend following its sustained increase in gas supply for power generation.
The corporation noted that the average national daily gas production for the period stood at an impressive 226.918 billion cubic feet (bcf), which it added, translated to over 7.319 million standard cubic feet (mmscuf/d), while the daily average gas supply to gas power plants increased to 689mmscfd or the equivalent to power generation of 3056 megawatts (MW).
â€œThe March 2017 figure is an improvement on the previous monthâ€™s record, which stood at 582mmscfd. The supply is also over 29 per cent higher than the corresponding supply record for March 2016.
â€œHowever, pipeline sabotage in the country increased from 49 downstream pipelines vandalised points in February 2017 to 94 in March 2017. This represents over 91 per cent increase relative to the previous months despite federal governmentâ€™s and the NNPCâ€™s continuous engagement with the stakeholders. Nevertheless, there is a noticeable improvement compared to corresponding period of March 2016 which posted 259 cases,â€ said NNPC in a statement from its Group General Manager, Public Affairs, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu.
â€œAlso, in the downstream sector, NNPC has in stock, a robust inland supply of over 1.2 billion litres of petrol sufficient for more than 34 days forward consumption. On Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) and Aviation Turbine Kerosene (ATK), NNPC continued to import to supplement AGO local refining and the Central Bank has released foreign exchange to marketers to import AGO and ATK,â€ it added.
However, speaking at PHRC complex during the graduation of 55 beneficiaries of its Youths Empowerment and Skills Acquisition Programme (YESAP), Malami said host communities of national assets should ensure they were protected from attack.
He urged the host communities to always explore peaceful means to resolve differences with the firm.
“Host communities should ensure that oil and gas installations in their locality are protected to guarantee safety of their environment,” he said.
He assured that PHRC would continue to discharge its corporate social responsibility to Eleme and Okrika that were its host communities..
Disclosing that the graduates were the second batch of trainees in the YESAP programme sponsored by the refinery company to empower youths of the host communities, Malami noted that they were trained in welding and fabrication, catering, fashion , designing and hair dressing , information and communications technology and interlocking , masonry, block moulding , carpentry and government certified centres.
Meanwhile, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, has said the recent drop in crude oil prices at the international market to approximately $45 per barrel could be brief and not affect the price rebalancing measures taken by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its non-OPEC allies led by the Russian Federation.
Also, Kachikwu confirmed that the federal government had not concessioned the three refineries operated by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in Port Harcourt, Kaduna, and Warri to any private concern.
The minister, who spoke at a press briefing last Thursday, stated that, while OPEC accounted for just about 30 per cent of the worldâ€™s oil supply, it was however frequently expected to take responsibility for instability in global oil market. He added that the recent price drop had not reached a dangerous dimension for OPEC to get that worried.
Reports indicated that oil prices on Friday settled at $45.83 a barrel, on the back of pressure from big U.S. inventories and heavy worldwide flows. This was also after OPEC and other key producers agreed to extend their November 2016 output freeze agreement to decrease production by almost 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) until the first quarter of 2018.
But Kachikwu, in his response to the price drop, stated that, â€œThere are lots of things that affect pricing in the crude area, speculation is one of the key elements and traders have learnt how to speculate and that is sometimes a major impact.â€