Kyari: Oil Theft, Pipeline Vandalism Undermining Gains of PIA

·    Advocates creation of special court to try offenders

·    NNPC plans launch of three mini-LNG facilities

Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja and Peter Uzoho in Lagos

Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) of Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), Mele Kyari, yesterday, lamented that the persistent spate of oil theft and pipeline vandalism had severely undermined the gains of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021 for the industry and the economy at large.

Kyari called for the creation of a special court to try offences related to crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism, or the granting of accelerated hearing to such cases.

Kyari made the assertions in Abuja, at the National Judges Capacity Building Workshop on the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021, organised by the National Judicial Institute (NJI) and INVESTIN 234.

In a goodwill message he delivered at the workshop, the GCEO explained that establishment of the special court on crude oil theft and vandalism was needed to enable the oil and gas industry achieve its full potential as an enabler of national economic and industrial growth.

A statement signed by Chief Corporate Communications Officer of NNPCL, Mr. Olufemi Soneye, said Kyari equally called for the judiciary’s support in tackling the twin challenges of crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism. He said the role of the judiciary was critical to the success of the efforts of the various security arrangements put in place by NNPCL, the law enforcement agencies, and other stakeholders in the industry.

Kyari stated, “In particular, is the recommendation that a special court be created to try those offences as they hinge on our survival as a country, and/or for such trials to be conducted under an accelerated hearing process by the issuance of Practice Directions to that effect, with concomitant sanctions to deter would-be offenders.”

He also called on the judiciary to accelerate hearing in criminal cases in the courts, through timely determination of the criminal charges and imposition of adequate punishments and sanctions on culprits to serve as a deterrent to others.

Kyari said NNPC remained committed to collaborating with all relevant stakeholders to ensure the successful implementation of the PIA, adding, “Together, we can ensure that the benefits of our natural resources are maximised for the economic and social development of our country.”

Kyari also commended the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Olukayode Ariwoola, and the organisers of the workshop for extending invitation to him, and the opportunity to deliver a goodwill message at the workshop.

Separately, Kyari  said NNPCL had in the past few years ramped up investment in the gas sector to ensure improved supply and utilisation, stressing that the construction of gas pipelines, gas terminals and gas processing plants present huge opportunities for investors.

He spoke at the opening of the 2024 Africa Gas Innovation Summit (AGIS) organised by the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) in Abuja.

The summit was themed, “Igniting the Future: Driving Sustainability in Africa’s Energy Landscape Through Gas Technology and Innovation.”

Represented by Executive Vice President, Gas, Power and New Energies, Olalekan Ogunleye, Kyari said NNPCL had made major investments in floating LNG and gas pipeline projects.

He stated, “In order to accelerate gas commercialisation, bearing in mind that this is the era of gas, the NNPC has signed Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) and development agreements for floating energy projects, which will be the first in Nigeria, while currently executing a 30 million scf per day small-scale mini-energy project.

“Indeed, we are currently participating in three mini LNG projects slated for ground breaking this August. NNPC is also currently leading the federal government’s auto-gas initiative.

“Aside from the recent commissioning of the 5.2mscf per-day Ilasamaja mother-station CNG plant, the GCEO of NNPC recently announced plans to take FID (final investment decision) within this year and roll out six additional CNG mother-station plants with similar capacity.”

Equally speaking at the event, Director-General, National Office for Hydrocarbons and Mines, Morocco, Amina Benkhadra, disclosed that there was currently over $245 billion worth of investment opportunities for the provision of gas infrastructure across the African continent.

Benkhadra added that about $100 billion investments were needed annually to meet electricity demand on the continent by 2030, noting that the total investment required by the year 2050 could reach $3 trillion.

According to her, Morocco would continue to work with Nigeria and other African countries to ensure the delivery of the Nigeria-Morocco Atlantic Gas Pipeline project estimated to cost over $25 billion.

In his address, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Gas), Ekperikpe Ekpo, said the government would continue to provide the enabling environment for private sector investment in the gas industry.

Ekpo, who was represented by Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Nicholas Ella, stated that by embracing gas technology and innovation, and shaping effective policy frameworks, Nigeria could ignite the future and drive sustainability in Africa’s energy landscape.

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