PINL: Securing Nigeria’s Oil Assets to Boost Production
Emmanuel Addeh writes that although oil theft still remains a perennial problem in Nigeria, recent efforts by Pipeline Infrastructure Nigeria Limited (PINL), one of the oil servicing firms in the Niger Delta, which recently got the contract to secure the oil assets, may have begun to yield results
Oil theft in Nigeria has become so deep-seated a challenge that beyond its negative economic impact, it has now become a national security issue. Although crude oil theft is not new in Nigeria, the new dimension it has recently taken has become almost overwhelming. Indeed, the first report of stealing of the commodity dates back to the 80s when the military was still firmly in charge of administering the country. Since then, discussions surrounding the phenomenon have gained national prominence. However, what is different now is the sheer volume of crude oil lost to non-state actors and the manner the situation has disrupted the nation’s economy. Even though several layers of security arrangements and special units had been set up by the federal government under various names, the problem had, as it were, not been resolved. Industry players, even the most reticent of them, have cried out, government has given assurances, the economy is in a crisis because Nigeria’s main source of foreign exchange has dried up, dwarfing government revenues even as it takes a toll on the environment. As the impact began to hit home, the International Oil Companies (IOCs) began divesting. To put it succinctly, whereas over 30 years ago, Nigeria could produce over 2 million barrels of oil per day seamlessly, today it struggles to drill as little as 60 per cent of that. While oil-producing nations are boosting their foreign reserves and National Oil Companies (NOCs) are declaring massive profits and bonuses, Nigeria, ironically, has not been able to do so. It was against this backdrop that the federal government awarded Pipeline Infrastructure Nigeria Limited (PINL), described as one of the companies with the most modern capabilities in surveillance of oil assets in the region, to help boost oil production.
PINL’S RECORD OF PERFORMANCE
Known for providing excellent services in the engineering, procurement, construction, maintenance and security services that consistently meet local and international standards, PINL over the years has become one of the most sought after companies in the country. It provides innovative solutions that are proven cost-effective through the deployment of state-of-the-art technology and modern day equipment to deliver its projects and exceeding clients’ expectations.
“We strongly believe and fully demonstrate a highly safe work environment for our staff, contractors, communities and all parties involved in our projects. We provide a variety of excellent services to key players in the oil and gas industry,” the company says.
As one of the indigenous companies currently working to boost oil production by the provision of security for oil and gas installations on land and offshore locations in conjunction with government security forces, PINL is one of the most respected oil servicing firms in the region.
In the last few months since the deal was reached, the company has busted several oil theft camps, discovered illegal bunkering sites and working with the authorities, halted several operations by the oil thieves. It has , in addition, taken preventive action to ensure that the ability of the oil thieves to operate has been severely restricted.
The Osahon Okunbo-led company currently oversees operations to stop oil theft in its Area’s of Responsibility (AoR), including surveillance activities in Abia, Imo, Rivers and Bayelsa.
The work being done by the company has also received some support from the Niger Delta youths who believe that the company can rein in the oil thieves and help Nigeria boost its production.
Coming under the aegis of the Coalition of Organisations for Peace and Development in the Niger Delta (COPDIN), the youths expressed optimism of a drastic decline in crude oil theft, illegal bunkering and other sharp practices that erode the nation’s wealth in the oil and gas industry in the region.
The agreement with PINL to secure oil and gas pipelines, especially in Rivers state, which is a major hub of illegal refining of petroleum products in the Niger Delta region, the group said, remains a masterstroke.
The group, described the choice of PINL as a step in the right direction, maintaining that the company’s personnel had since begun interfacing with the leadership of the various communities hosting pipelines and oil and gas facilities in their areas of operation.
Led by the group’s National President, Atama Mien, and the Secretary, Tamuno Long-John, the youths also commended President Muhammadu Buhari, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, and others for noticing the capacity of PINL and for awarding the contract to the company.
It also lauded the Managing Director, Okunbo, for taking proactive steps towards integrating key stakeholders of the various communities hosting pipelines and oil and gas facilities to see how they can be meaningfully engaged in the process for it to yield positive outcomes.
Although, the organisations, namely the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) and the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) which release data on Nigeria’s oil production for the previous month had yet to do so for November at the time of putting this report together, feelers are that production improved substantially last month, following the efforts by such companies as PINL.
As much as 700,000 barrels per day, according to the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd (NNPC), Mele Kyari and the Minister of State Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, were unaccounted for before now.
However, from a record low of 900,000, it was learnt from official sources that cumulatively, Nigeria’s national oil production may have recovered to over 1.4 million barrels per day in November, which is over 300,000 bpd improvement over the previous month.
The latest improvement is coming after a marginal increase posted in October, which was 1.014 million barrels per day.
With the commitment of PINL and others, more oil wells are being revived, while surface facilities that were hitherto shut down because of incessant theft and vandalism are being reopened. In addition, the efforts have also positively impacted gas production since the signing of the agreement.
Also aware of its corporate social responsibility, PINL recently intervened by reducing the pains caused by the floods in the Niger Delta. Top management staff of PINL gathered thousands of affected flood victims in the various communities of Rivers, Bayelsa and Imo States as part of its corporate social responsibility.
The Chief Executive Officer/Corporate Managing Director, Okunbo, who led the first phase of distribution of materials in Ahaoda West Local Government Areas of Rivers, Emohua and Abua Odual local governments, said it was part of the company’s effort to support flood victims.
THISDAY learnt that over 23 communities from the three states benefitted from the relief materials distribution. Among items distributed were several bags of rice, indomie noodles, garri, salt, Maggi, vegetable oil, foot wears, clothes, among others. It wasn’t the first time it was happening. The company has in the past provided hundreds of scholarships for the people of the region.
Represented by Admiral Akinjide Akinrinade (rtd) the Project Lead for PINL, Okunbo said the company had been a key partner in the fight against pipeline vandalism and oil theft in the Niger Delta.
“The federal government also recently assigned us the responsibility of providing surveillance and maintenance of the Trans Niger Pipeline (TNP) due to our track record of excellent service delivery.
“As a socially responsible company, we are not insensitive to the plight of our partners who have been rendered homeless, besides losing human lives as a result of the ravaging flood.
“We can only be happy if our host communities are happy since we are in business to achieve a mutually beneficial goal.
“Suffice to say that we are partners in progress to sustain production of crude oil which remains the major source of revenue to governments at all levels as well as save the communities from environmental pollution arising from the activities of illegal crude oil refiners.
“We have therefore come to sympathise with you today for your losses due to the natural disaster and also show care by providing a token of support in form of food items and other essentials to mitigate the impact of the flood on the people,” the PINL representative noted.
The company added that it will continue to be socially responsible, explaining that it will not abandon its host communities in its moments of needs.
“Our action is further informed by our social obligation (as good corporate citizen) to support efforts of government in providing solutions to current multifaceted socio-economic challenges in the midst of dwindling revenue.
“We wish to use this opportunity to assure you traditional rulers, Chiefs, Community Development Committees, Youth and women leaders of our determination to carry everyone along as we continue to discharge our corporate social responsibilities with utmost fidelity, transparency and accountability.
“On behalf of PINL, we thank you for the unflinching support and cooperation you have accorded the company since inception of the project,” he said.
The PINL representative also prayed that God will grant the flood victims the strength to speedily recover from the physical and psychological trauma occasioned by the phenomenon.
COMMUNITY LEADERS REACT
On his part, Daddy Green, a community leader, commended PINL, for the donation of food and non-food items to the host communities of pipeline infrastructure.
He said no company had ever shown such gesture to them before now, urging other oil firms to emulate the goodwill of PINL to host community, not to forget them in their trying times.
Receiving the items on behalf of Ahoada, Stephenson Ikah, said his heart was filled with joy, insisting if other companies were behaving the way PINL had behaved, there would not be any problem, as their pipelines are safe and secure.
King Christian Amadi, the paramount ruler of Rumuekpe, in Emuoha, said it was the first time he was seeing such a good gesture from indigenous oil firm.
He said that the community had been very peaceful since they had crisis in 2011, asking that the company should also remember their youths for employment opportunities.
In Bayelsa, the Chairman of Otuesega Community Development Committee (CDC) in Ogbia , Mr. Marcus Raniya, while receiving the items donated to the community accused the International Oil Companies (IOCs) of neglect and wished that PINL should take over the responsibilities of the companies operating in their community.
While commending the surveillance company for the donation of the items to the host communities, he said no company had done what the PINL had been doing for the host communities affected by the flood disaster.
A widow from the community, Theresa Godfrey, who took THISDAY around her farms and properties damaged by the flood, said she lost over N3 million as the flood swept away her farms and livestock.
She called on the IOCs and the government to come to the rescue of the community and help them with farm implements and seedlings as the flood ravaged everything they had to even begin farming again.
The paramount ruler of Ikarama Community, in Yenagoa Local Government Area, said the gesture was the first of its kind, urging other oil firms to emulate the goodwill of PINL to their host communities.
He said since the flood began the bigger oil companies had failed to live up to their promises and responsibility, calling on them to come to the community and see for themselves the devastation the flood had caused to their houses, businesses and farmlands.
While assuring PINL of the safety of pipelines, he urged all multinationals operating in the Niger delta region to extend their helping hands to those impacted by the recent flooding that left many people dead and properties worth billions of naira in ruins.
Also, the deputy paramount ruler of Elebele community, in Ogbia Local Government Area, Chief Livingston Fortunate, said the company was special for donating the items to their host communities.
He called on the major oil companies operating in the region to visit the communities and see for themselves the level of destruction so they could come to the rescue of the indigenes especially the very poor and vulnerable.
Earlier, the Project Director of PINL, Okunbo, who coordinated the distribution of the materials to the impacted communities in Ogbia, Southern Ijaw and Yenagoa Local Government Areas of the state said, it was part of the company’s corporate social responsibility to support the victims of the recent flood.
While thanking the people for their unflinching support and cooperation since inception of the project, he wished them speedily recovery from the physical and psychological trauma occasioned by the flood. He added that so far, over 100 communities had so far benefited from the palliatives.