By Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) has offered to lend its expertise on Public Private Partnership (PPP) initiation, design and execution to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to revive its petroleum depots across the country.
The NNPC has up to 5000 kilometres of pipeline network, 21 petroleum products storage depots and nine liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) depots, but of these facilities have not functioned optimally.
But speaking at the inaugural Nigerian International Pipeline Technology Security Conference (NIPITECS) organised by the Pipeline Professionals Association of Nigeria (PPAN) in Abuja, the acting Director General of ICRC, Mr. Chidi Izuwah stated that the agency could help the NNPC restore the efficiency of its depots using PPP arrangements.
Izuwah noted that pipelines and depots as means of transporting fuel would have to be prioritised by the NNPC, while the Nigerian government should give the countryâ€™s road networks some relief.
â€œNigerian roads cannot be healthy if the NNPC depots and pipelines donâ€™t work. Our roads are not built are not built to transport heavy products and loads because they are not concrete, and 70 per cents of NNPCâ€™s pipelines have exceeded their lifespan,â€ he said.
He further stated: â€œICRC will help the NNPC on its plans to adopt PPP for its depots. We are ready, able and willing to work with MDAs to use PPP to change Nigeria.â€
Also in his remarks at the event, the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru explained that the continued destruction of the corporationâ€™s pipeline networks has contributed to high cost of products distribution in the country, as well as loss of revenues.
He called on the PPAN to devise new ways of protecting pipelines in the country, adding that pipeline destruction contributed to Nigeriaâ€™s recent economic recession.
Baru stated: â€œAs we all know, pipelines today remain the cheapest means of transporting crude oil, petroleum products and gas across the country. Nigeria has about 5,000km of pipeline network for petroleum products transportation and distribution while natural gas pipelines constitute over 2,800km in length.
â€œThis is exclusive of thousands of kilometres of the small sized pipelines, otherwise called flow lines, for crude oil and gas gathering and transportation to flow stations and gas plants. These pipelines traverse the length and breadth of the country. Due to population growth in Nigeria, the pipelines are now within major settlements and therefore difficult to protect. Even more challenging is the encroachment to the pipeline Right of Way (RoW) by buildings and major settlements,â€ Baru explained.
â€œThese pipelines serve a wide range of purposes especially in transporting crude oil from the production fields to refineries and export terminals; transporting natural gas toÂ power plants, cement and fertiliser plants and many more other industries that require natural gas for their operations. They also serve as a primary feeder to LNG plants that liquefy natural gas which serves as virtual pipelines. As such protecting these pipelines has now become a national security concern,â€ Baru added.